Since the beginning of 2023 artificial intelligence (AI), in the form of ChatGPT, has been the rage. The platform is being used to write poetry, compose essays and answer obscure questions.
Now there are dozens of ChatGPT apps that you can download to your device. But some privacy experts see trouble ahead.
In fact, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), the group coordinating Europe’s various privacy agencies, has established a ChatGPT task force is determine if privacy regulations are needed.
Sarah Hospelhorn, CMO at BigID, says consumers should be cautious about how they use these apps until they get a firm handle on privacy policies.
“Users’ privacy can be compromised if they're using an ungoverned set of data,” Hospelhorn told ConsumerAffairs. “It could be personal data, employee or consumer data, secrets and passwords, even seemingly benign data like your mother's maiden name or shopping history.”
Aaron Rafferty, CEO of Standard DAO, says users’ privacy can be compromised in several ways when using ChatGPT and other AI platforms.
“The most concerning issues include the potential for data breaches, exposing sensitive user conversations, and unauthorized access to personal information,” he told us. “The scenario of Samsung employees using ChatGPT and ultimately compromising proprietary Samsung information that is now owned by OpenAI and its users is just one example of many. There's also the risk of AI-generated misinformation that could inadvertently violate user privacy or manipulate public opinion.”
Sameer Ahmed Khan is the co-founder & CEO of Social Champ, a MarTech start-up backed by Techstars. Khan says these new AI apps present new privacy concerns that haven't been factors with other forms of technology.
"A determined hacker team can infiltrate and exploit cybersecurity gaps to steal all data or inputs without alerting the target or their safeguards,” Khan told us. “ChatGPT is no different, and the exploits around its security measures are continuously being penetration tested by malicious actors.”
Privacy concerns limit business uses
Khan thinks there are limited business uses for ChatGPT because of privacy issues. He notes that Microsoft has developed a fix, and “it's just a matter of using Microsoft 365 Copilot, which was launched to uplevel business users with AI.”
The growing number of ChatGPT apps all have different privacy policies which you should review carefully before downloading. Ai Chat - GPT Chat Bot, an app available at the Apple app store, carries a note that it does not collect any user data. However, not all are like that.
Because of that, Rafferty believes U.S. regulators will eventually address privacy issues with new policies and will likely strike a balance between fostering innovation and ensuring user privacy.