ICO to examine legality of using personal data to train generative AI models

16 January 2024, 10:54

A ChapGPT logo is seen on a smartphone
A ChapGPT logo is seen on a smartphone. Picture: PA

The UK’s data protection regulator has launched a consultation series around the technology.

The UK’s data protection watchdog has launched a consultation series on how data protection law should apply to the development and use of generative AI apps.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said the first consultation would look at whether it was lawful to train generative AI models – such as ChatGPT – on personal data scraped from the web.

The ICO said it was seeking views from across the tech and AI industry, as well as from legal advisers, consultants and civil society groups, with the aim of helping the regulator provide the sector with clarity on how to abide by data protection law when using the technology.

Generative AI technology can be used to create new content – including words, pictures, video, computer code and music – from scratch, but based on large amounts of data the program has been trained on, much of which is often scraped from internet and fed into the system.

The ChatGPT website
Critics have raised concerns about the number of areas around generative AI (PA)

Over the last 12 months and since the public launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot, generative AI has become one of the most on-trend pieces of technology in the sector, with Google, Microsoft and others quickly moving to release their own chatbots and build generative AI tools into their platforms.

Critics have raised concerns about the number of areas around generative AI, including its ability to create misinformation if it has been trained on inaccurate data, as well as the potential privacy concerns around personal data being used in such training.

The ICO said its first consultation, which will be open to hearing views from stakeholders until March 1, would examine when and if it is lawful to train generative AI models on personal data.

Stephen Almond, executive director for regulatory risk at the ICO, said: “The impact of generative AI can be transformative for society if it’s developed and deployed responsibly.

“This call for views will help the ICO provide industry with certainty regarding its obligations and safeguard people’s information rights and freedoms.”

The ICO said future consultations, which will be launched throughout the first half of the year, would also look at areas such as the accuracy of generative AI results.

By Press Association

More Technology News

See more More Technology News

Apple devices

Apple to allow iPhone repairs with used parts

TikTok research

TikTok launches campaign urging users to get MMR jab

WhatsApp has been criticised after lowering its age limit

Meta under fire after WhatsApp lowers age restriction from 16 to 13

Attendees pose for a group photograph at the AI safety summit

Next AI summit to be hosted by UK and South Korea in May

Social media apps

Meta under fire for ‘tone deaf’ minimum age change on WhatsApp

Social media apps

Q&A: Social media apps and minimum age requirements

Bafta Games Awards

Baldur’s Gate 3 dominates Bafta Games Awards with five wins

UK’s media habits

Government needs TikTok strategy to combat misinformation, say MPs

ChatGPT study

Growing concerns over AI foundation model market, competition regulator says

Tesco shopper

Tesco.com joins competitors in launching ‘Best of British’ page

Instagram's new safety tools to combat so-called sextortion and intimate image abuse

Meta announces new tools to tackle sextortion and intimate image abuse

A teenager using a tablet

Nearly fifth of teenagers say internet main information source on sexual health

A domestic air source heat pump outside a back door

New ‘visit a heat pump’ scheme aims to help householders make clean tech switch

Cyber security concept. System hacked warning alerts on a computer notebook screen. Cybercrime, virus, online hacking, cyber attack, malicious malware

Russia ranked top of global cybercrime index in new study

Chic frontman Nile Rodgers

AI and streaming threaten creative workers’ livelihoods, MPs say

Sir Nick Clegg, president, global affairs speaks at Meta’s AI event in London

AI can be ‘sword and shield’ against misinformation, Sir Nick Clegg says