ChatGPT creator OpenAI sued for stealing private data

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI. David Paul Morris Bloomberg/Getty Images

ChatGPT creator OpenAI is stealing massive amounts of personal information to train its AI models in a reckless pursuit of profits, a group of anonymous individuals have said in a lawsuit seeking class action status.

OpenAI violated privacy laws by secretly scraping 300 billion words from the internet, intercepting books, articles, websites and posts, including personal information obtained without consent, according to the sprawling 157-page lawsuit. He doesn’t hesitate to use radical language, accusing the company of risking the collapse of civilization.

Plaintiffs are described by their occupations or interests but identified only by initials for fear of a backlash against them, the Clarkson law firm said in the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco. They cite $3 billion in potential damages, based on a category of harmed individuals they estimate to number in the millions.

A different approach: theft

Despite established protocols for the acquisition and use of personal information, the defendants took a different approach:theft, they say. The company’s popular chatbot program ChatGPT and other products are trained on private information taken from what the plaintiffs described as hundreds of millions of Internet users, including children, without their permission.

Microsoft Corp., which plans to invest $13 billion in OpenAI, was also named as a defendant.

An OpenAI spokesperson did not immediately return a call or email asking for comment on the lawsuit. A Microsoft spokesperson did not immediately respond to an email.

ChatGPT and other generative AI applications have sparked intense interest in the promise of the technology, but they have also unleashed a firestorm of privacy and misinformation. Congress is debating the potential and dangers of artificial intelligence as the products raise questions about the future of the creative industries and the ability to distinguish fact from fiction. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman himself, in testimony on Capitol Hill last month, called for the regulation of AI. But the lawsuit focuses on how OpenAI got the guts of its products to begin with.

Secret scraping

OpenAI, which is at the forefront of the burgeoning industry, is accused of conducting a huge clandestine web scraping operation, violating terms of service agreements and state and federal privacy and property laws. One of the laws cited is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a federal anti-hacking statute that has already been invoked in scraping controversies. The lawsuit also includes allegations of invasion of privacy, theft, unjust enrichment and violations of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

By misappropriating personal data on a massive scale to win an AI arms race, OpenAI illegally accesses private information from individuals’ interactions with its products and from applications that have integrated ChatGPT, the plaintiffs say. Those integrations allow the company to collect image and location data from Snapchat, music preferences on Spotify, financial information from Stripe, and private conversations on Slack and Microsoft Teams, according to the lawsuit.

In pursuit of profits, OpenAI abandoned its original principle of advancing artificial intelligence in the way most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, the plaintiffs say. The lawsuit puts ChatGPT’s projected revenue for 2023 at $200 million.

While seeking to represent the huge class of individuals allegedly harmed and asking for pecuniary damages to be determined at trial, the plaintiffs are also asking the court to temporarily freeze commercial access and further development of the OpenAIs products.

#ChatGPT #creator #OpenAI #sued #stealing #private #data
Image Source :

Leave a Comment