GDPR push for privacy by design still ‘a long way off’


Italy’s data protection authority Garante earlier this month banned U.S.-based artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot creator Replika from processing the personal data of users in the country because of the risks the service posed to minors and vulnerable people.

Replika’s chatbot is marketed as an “AI companion who cares” because it offers users personalized avatars that talk and listen to them and help their emotional well-being. In a Feb. 3 notice, Garante criticized the app’s failure to protect children by allowing it to send inappropriate and sexually explicit responses to young users.

The case serves as an example of why tech companies must use “privacy by design” when launching new products and services.

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