Google has delayed the release of its Bard chatbot in the European Union, according to Irish regulators concerned the AI doesn’t adhere to the European Union’s data protection laws. Google announced it was releasing its Bard chatbot only last week, giving the EU little time to discuss what steps the tech giant took to align with local privacy requirements, and now it has no definite release date.
The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) concluded that Google had not provided enough information related to privacy concerns ahead of the launch, and before it could be permitted in the EU, the commission said the software must align with the Personal Data Protection law. The law, which was implemented in 2018, protects individuals from the release of their personal data with the exception of obtaining information for criminal activities and threats to public security.
The DPC did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment, but Graham Doyle, the deputy commissioner for the DPC, told TechCrunch, “The DPC had not had any detailed briefing nor sight of a DPIA [data protection impact assessment] or any supporting documentation at this point.” He added, “It has since sought this information as a matter of urgency and has raised a number of additional data protection questions with Google to which it awaits a response and Bard will not now launch this week.”
However, a Google spokesperson told Gizmodo in an email, “We said in May that we wanted to make Bard more widely available, including in the European Union, and that we would do so responsibly, after engagement with experts, regulators, and policymakers.” The spokesperson continued, “As part of that process, we’ve been talking with privacy regulators to address their questions and hear feedback.”
This isn’t the first time AI has been banned in the EU over privacy worries, as only last month Italy made the decision to briefly ban ChatGPT over similar concerns. Questions arose when Google revealed the Bard chatbot was available in three languages and launching in over 180 countries, none of which were based in the EU. Google appeared to touch on the reasoning, saying on its support page, “We’ll gradually expand to more countries and territories in a way that is consistent with local regulations and our AI principles.”
Google says it wants to make Bard more widely available, but before it can do that, it will have to address any and all questions and concerns presented by the DPC and will need to present the official documentation that it is complying with all EU regulations. The commission has said it does not have a timeframe for when or if Bard will be permitted to launch in the EU.
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