The Italian city of Trento has become the first city in the country to receive a fine for its misuse of artificial intelligence (AI), according to a release from the Italian Data Protection Authority.
Trento conducted two scientific research projects using cameras, microphones and social networks that used AI and broke data protection legislation. The city became the first local administration to be reprimanded by the Italian data watchdog with a fine of 50,000 euros ($54,373).
The Italian privacy authority said it recognized the municipality acted in good faith but found that the data collected was not anonymous enough nor was it correctly shared with third parties.
“The [Italian Data Protection Authority] condemned the massive and invasive processing methods put in place, which entailed significant risks for the rights and freedoms of the interested parties, including those of a constitutional nature.”
The municipality of Trento reportedly said it is considering an appeal of the decision, saying that the actions by the regulator “highlight how the current legislation is totally insufficient to regulate the use of AI to analyze large amounts of data and improve city security.”
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The Italian government has been proactive in its dealings with the evolution of AI. In March 2023, Italy became the first country to place a ban on OpenAI’s popular AI chatbot ChatGPT when it first went viral.
While it removed the ban after OpenAI complied with local transparency stipulations, Italy remained vigilant toward the technology. In May 2023, the government set aside a multimillion-dollar fund for workers at risk of AI replacement.
Shortly after that, during a parliamentary debate, an Italian senator used OpenAI’s GPT-4 to generate a speech to make a point about AI usage and spark a “serious debate” in the country about the technology.
In November, Italian regulators began an investigation into the security practices of public and private websites to prevent AI data scraping.
Most recently, on Jan. 5, Italy said it plans to tackle AI regulation as one of its main priorities, while it holds the G7 presidency this upcoming June.
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