Skip to main content

ChatGPT maker OpenAI faces FTC probe over consumer protection laws

ChatGPT maker OpenAI is facing an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over possible violations of consumer protection laws.

The action marks the toughest scrutiny of Microsoft-backed OpenAI since it burst onto the scene in November with its AI-powered ChatGPT chatbot.

The investigation is set to focus on whether OpenAI’s chatbot has caused harm to consumers through its collection of data and the tool’s occasional output of false information on individuals. Tools like ChatGPT are also known to sometimes spit out erroneous data, a phenomenon known as “hallucinating.” This can have serious consequences, especially if the information is detrimental to a person’s reputation.

The agency will also look into how OpenAI trains its AI tools and handles personal data.

The FTC kicked off its work this week by sending OpenAI a 20-page investigative demand that was shared online by the Washington Post on Thursday.

It calls on OpenAI to hand over information regarding any complaints it’s received from the public and details of any lawsuits. It also wants information on the data leak OpenAI disclosed earlier this year involving the temporary exposure of users’ chat history and payment data.

The new wave of generative AI tools has garnered much attention in recent months due to their impressive talents across a range of tasks. ChatGPT and others such as Google’s Bard are text-based tools that have the ability to converse in a very natural, human-like way.

The technology is so powerful that it will be able to perform many tasks in a smarter and more efficient manner than humans. In health, for example, the technology will be able to assist by “automating tedious and error-prone operational work, bringing years of clinical data to a clinician’s fingertips in seconds, and by modernizing health systems infrastructure,” according to consulting firm McKinsey.

But AI in the workplace will also lead to the loss of countless jobs and big societal upheavals. The technology is being used by bad actors, too, to generate and spread misinformation or to create more persuasive scams. At the extreme end, some experts fear that without responsible development and effective regulation of AI, more advanced versions of the technology could even turn hostile and challenge the human race.

Developments in the sector have been so rapid in recent months that governments around the world are having to play catch-up when it comes to regulation. Much consideration has to be given to getting the balance right, as too much regulation will stifle the development of a tool that could bring great benefits to society, while too little could increase the risk of the technology causing harm.

For now, the FTC is focusing on OpenAI’s operations to see if it’s violated consumer protection laws.

For all the latest news on ChatGPT, Digital Trends has you covered.

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
How to enable secure boot in Windows 11
Secure Boot setting in an ASUS BIOS.

Enabling Secure Boot is an important step in upgrading to Windows 11, as it's part of the system requirements. It ensures that unauthorized software can't run on your PC, and you will have to enable it before you install Windows 11 or it just won't work. Fortunately, enabling Secure Boot is as quick as changing a single BIOS setting.

Here's how to do it.

Read more
No, Intel’s Lunar Lake CPUs aren’t being delayed
Intel keynote.

Intel's hotly-anticipated Lunar Lake CPUs look like they're suffering a delay, at least according to a report from DigiTimes. The outlet, which covers semiconductor news, says that shipments of the chips are arriving in September and that they were originally planned for June. Intel says otherwise, however.

When Intel first announced Lunar Lake, it said they would arrive between July and September of this year. More specifically, the company pointed out that they'd be available before the holiday shopping season. If June was the original plan, we'd already have a lot more details about the processors. It looks like September was the target all along.

Read more
Hacker claims to have hit Apple days after hacking AMD
The Apple logo is displayed at the Apple Store June 17, 2015 on Fifth Avenue in New York City

Data breaches happen all the time, but when the giants get hit, it's impossible not to wonder what kind of critical data may become exposed. Earlier this week, notorious cybercriminal Intelbroker reported that they managed to hack AMD. Now, they followed up with claims about hacking Apple, and went as far as to share some internal source code on a hacking forum.

As Apple has yet to comment, all we have to go off is the forum post, first shared by HackManac on X (formerly Twitter). In the post, Intelbroker states that Apple suffered a data breach that led to the exposure of the source code for some of its internal tools. The tools include AppleConnect-SSO, Apple-HWE-Confluence-Advanced. There's been no mention of any customer data being leaked, which is good news, but there could still be some impact on Apple if this proves to be true.

Read more