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Google’s Bard launch in EU blocked after Irish data watchdog opposition: report

Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) artificial intelligence (AI) service Bard is facing a setback in its quest to launch in the European Union (EU) after failing to satisfy the minimum requirement of data regulators.

Bard was scheduled to launch in the EU during the week, but the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) forced Google to push back its plans. According to Politico, Google did not give sufficient notice to the regulator and failed to provide “any detailed briefing nor sight of a data protection impact assessment.”

DPC Deputy Commissioner Graham Doyle revealed that the generative AI service would not launch in the EU until Google provides details of its compliance with the region’s data protection rules. The DPC added that it would share information with other data agencies within the EU upon disclosing any new information.

“It has since sought this information as a matter of urgency and has raised a number of additional data protection questions with Google to which it awaits a response and Bard will not now launch this week,” Doyle said.

Following the success of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google launched Bard in the U.K., U.S., and over 160 nations, but the EU remains the last frontier. A push into the EU appears to be a daunting task for Google, given watertight data protection rules and a fearsome reputation for enforcement.

“We said in May that we wanted to make Bard more widely available, including in the EU, and that we would do so responsibly, after engagement with experts, regulators, and policymakers,” Google said. “As part of that process, we’ve been talking with privacy regulators to address their questions and hear feedback.”

Despite tight privacy regulation, the EU is keen on bolstering existing frameworks with a proposed EU AI Act. Under the legislative crucible, the proposed act is pushing for an alignment of AI rules with the already existing General Data Protection Regulation.

Bard’s rival ChatGPT previously came under heavy criticism, culminating in a temporary ban in Italy, with several countries launching investigations into the platform.

Privacy concerns are tip of the iceberg

European authorities have since identified several concerns associated with using generative AI platforms. The challenges range from copyright issues arising from the training of AI models to virtual currency fraud and the dissemination of fake news.

The U.K. is banking on its new AI taskforce to ensure the safe and responsible usage of AI, while other jurisdictions are seeking public opinion on the most ideal way to regulate the technology. Private corporations are also concerned with the security risks from AI, with Samsung (NASDAQ: SSNLF) and other tech firms banning employees from using ChatGPT.

Watch: AI, ChatGPT, and Blockchain | CoinGeek Roundtable with Joshua Henslee

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