ChatGPT maker OpenAI hit with class-action lawsuit over alleged data theft

ChatGPT maker OpenAI hit with class-action lawsuit over alleged data theft

OpenAI, the maker of the popular chatbot ChatGPT — a natural language processing artificial intelligence (AI) tool — is facing a class-action lawsuit in California over allegedly scraping private user information from the internet.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California by Clarkson Law Firm on June 28. The suit alleges that OpenAI trained ChatGPT using data collected from millions of social media comments, blog posts, Wikipedia articles and family recipes without the consent of the respective users. Thus, OpenAI violated the copyrights and privacy of millions of internet users.

A snippet of the class-action lawsuit alleging OpenAI’s data theft. Source:

The 16 named plaintiffs in the case claim OpenAI illegally accessed private information from individuals’ interactions with ChatGPT. If these allegations are proven to be accurate, the accused will be in breach of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act — a law with a precedent for web-scraping cases. Microsoft, a major OpenAI investor, was also named a defendant. OpenAI did not respond to Cointelegraph’s requests for comments by publication.

The lawsuit also alleges that OpenAI products “use stolen private information, including personally identifiable information, from hundreds of millions of internet users, including children of all ages, without their informed consent or knowledge.”

“By collecting previously obscure personal data of millions and misappropriating it to develop a volatile, untested technology, OpenAI put everyone in a zone of risk that is incalculable – but unacceptable by any measure of responsible data protection and use,” Clarkson said.

AI technology has gained a lot of traction over the past year due to the massive popularity of ChatGPT. The rise of AI has also nudged governments worldwide to take notice, with the likes of the U.S. and the European Union already proposing legislation to regulate the nascent industry.

Related: US vice president gathers top tech CEOs to discuss dangers of AI

On June 20, a bipartisan set of U.S. lawmakers introduced the National AI Commission Act, which would establish a commission to study the country’s approach toward AI. Similarly, the European Parliament passed the Artificial Intelligence Act in the second week of June. The legislation would establish a framework for governance and oversight of the AI industry in the EU.

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