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US FTC begins probe into OpenAI on ChatGPT data collection

In a first major government investigation into Sam Altman-run OpenAI, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is probing the ChatGPT developer over user data collection and the publication of false information.

The FTC has sent a 20-page letter to OpenAI, probing whether it has “run afoul of consumer protection laws by putting personal reputations and data at risk,” reports The Washington Post.

The FTC wants to get detailed information on how OpenAI vets information used in training for its models and how it prevents false claims from being shown to ChatGPT users.

The FTC called on OpenAI to provide detailed descriptions of all complaints it had received of its products making “false, misleading, disparaging or harmful” statements about people.

“The FTC is investigating whether the company engaged in unfair or deceptive practices that resulted in ‘reputational harm’ to consumers,” according to the document.

Analysts have called OpenAI’s ChatGPT the fastest-growing consumer app in history.

“Its early success set off an arms race among Silicon Valley companies to roll out competing chatbots,” the report noted.

Earlier this week, comedian and author Sarah Silverman, along with authors Christopher Golden and Richard Kadrey, sued OpenAI and Mark Zuckerberg-owned Meta over dual claims of copyright infringement.

The lawsuits alleged that OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Meta’s LLaMA (a set of large language models) were trained on illegally-acquired datasets containing their works.

The lawsuit alleged that chatbot never bothered to “reproduce any of the copyright management information Plaintiffs included with their published works”.

Meta or OpenAI did not comment on the lawsuits.

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