OpenAI Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Alleging Data Theft: Insights into the ChatGPT Maker’s Legal Challenge

OpenAI, the renowned creator of the widely-used chatbot ChatGPT, is currently entangled in a class-action lawsuit in California. The lawsuit, filed on June 28 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California by Clarkson Law Firm, accuses OpenAI of scraping private user information from the internet without consent.

According to the lawsuit, OpenAI allegedly trained ChatGPT using data gathered from various online sources such as social media comments, blog posts, Wikipedia articles, and even family recipes. The plaintiffs contend that OpenAI’s actions violated their copyrights and infringed upon their privacy rights as internet users.

The case involves 16 named plaintiffs who claim that OpenAI unlawfully accessed their private information through their interactions with ChatGPT. If proven true, these allegations could potentially classify OpenAI’s actions as a breach of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a law that has been applied in previous web-scraping cases. Microsoft, a significant investor in OpenAI, has also been named as a defendant in the lawsuit. At the time of publication, OpenAI had not responded to requests for comment from CryptoGrafos.

The lawsuit further alleges that OpenAI’s products “utilize stolen private information, including personally identifiable information, from millions of internet users, including children, without their informed consent or knowledge.”

Clarkson Law Firm expressed concerns about OpenAI’s practices, stating, “By collecting previously undisclosed personal data from millions and appropriating it for the development of an untested and volatile technology, OpenAI has exposed everyone to an immeasurable but unacceptable level of risk in terms of responsible data protection and usage.”

The rise of AI technology, exemplified by the widespread popularity of ChatGPT, has garnered significant attention in recent times. Governments worldwide have taken notice, with several proposing legislation to regulate this burgeoning industry. In the United States, bipartisan lawmakers introduced the National AI Commission Act on June 20, which aims to establish a commission to study the country’s approach to AI. Similarly, the European Parliament passed the Artificial Intelligence Act in early June, which seeks to create a framework for governance and oversight of the AI sector within the European Union.

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