Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Saturday, Jun 03, 2023

Risk of ChatGPT personal data leaks to be monitored: Hong Kong’s privacy watchdog

Risk of ChatGPT personal data leaks to be monitored: Hong Kong’s privacy watchdog

Public urged to read privacy policies, refrain from inputting sensitive information to such tools, but experts say ban unnecessary.

Hong Kong’s privacy watchdog has vowed to monitor the risk of personal data leaks from generative artificial intelligence applications such as ChatGPT, as concerns mount in the wake of Italy’s recent ban on the powerful tool.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data earlier this week said it had not received any complaints about data breaches relating to ChatGPT, but urged users to avoid disclosing personal information when using such apps.

“The [office] has been monitoring the development of generative AI-powered chatbots and the potential personal data privacy risks they pose to users,” it said in a reply to an inquiry by the Post.

It also urged the public to read the tools’ privacy policies to see how personal data could be collected, used or shared.

“Users should also avoid disclosing their personal data with the AI chatbots, and, if the disclosure is necessary to fulfil the intended purpose, only disclose the minimum amount of personal data that is necessary to fulfil such purpose.

“They are also advised to download the AI chatbots apps from verified and trusted sources such as official app stores,” the office said.

ChatGPT was created by Microsoft-backed OpenAI.

ChatGPT quickly captured the world’s attention after it was launched by the American research laboratory OpenAI, which is also backed by Microsoft, last November.

The chatbot learns from its interactions with users and is able to generate humanlike responses to prompts in just minutes. The chatbot has not been officially made available in Hong Kong, but many access it with virtual private networks or alternative apps. Local universities have rolled out policies on whether students are allowed to use it in their work.

Italy last week became the first Western country to ban ChatGPT. The country’s data protection watchdog ordered OpenAI to temporarily cease serving users in Italy while the body investigated a suspected breach of European privacy regulations.

The move followed OpenAI’s admission last month that a bug had allowed some of the chatbot’s users to view the conversations of others. But OpenAI stressed the problem had been fixed.

Some European Union countries were reportedly debating whether to follow with bans of their own.

In Hong Kong, data science expert Professor Cao Jiannong, also director of the Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence of Things at Polytechnic University, said one possible explanation for the leak was that data containing private information was not appropriately “masked” by the tools.

“ChatGPT allows the public to test, use and train its model by collecting the information the user inputs, as well as the ways the person uses ChatGPT. So, the information you enter in the dialogue could be used to further train the tool and be included in responses to other users’ prompts,” Cao said.

He also advised users to avoid inputting “sensitive” personal data.

Computing expert Professor Martin Wong Ding-fat, dean of Chinese University’s faculty of engineering, shared similar views but said there were differing opinions on what constituted private data.

“Some people do not want to reveal their home addresses but some do not care,” Wong said.

Francis Fong Po-kiu, honorary president of the Hong Kong Information Technology Federation, also said the privacy risk could be seen as a “necessary evil”.

“Sometimes it is difficult not to supply some personal data such as names or phone numbers to the AI system if you want it to help complete a job, like finding information about another person’s background. The AI tool will be trained to become smarter and more efficient when it is fed with more information. That is the purpose of AI, and we sometimes have to make a trade-off,” Fong said.

Vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Retail Technology Industry Association, Joseph Leung Wai-fung, was more pessimistic.

“I don’t think users can avoid the risks unless they are not connected to the internet,” Leung said. “I would say the responsibility should be on the developers more than users, as instructions come from them.”

While personal data leaks were a worry, the bigger risk came from when AI could not discern between correct and false information fed to it by users, he said.

“Garbage in, garbage out: they might analyse and share incorrect information to the public and even make incorrect decisions for humans,” Leung said.

But the experts were against a ban despite possible privacy concerns.

“Good and proper use of ChatGPT could help us to increase our productivity and efficiency, to learn and create new knowledge,” Cao said.

Wong agreed, saying: “It can do amazing things and can be very useful to humans. ChatGPT-like tools will only get better and better. This is just the beginning, much like when the internet was suddenly unleashed to the world with the advent of the first web browser in the early 1990s.”

Places that sought to ban the technology risked lagging behind and becoming less competitive, Leung said.

AI Disclaimer: An advanced artificial intelligence (AI) system generated the content of this page on its own. This innovative technology conducts extensive research from a variety of reliable sources, performs rigorous fact-checking and verification, cleans up and balances biased or manipulated content, and presents a minimal factual summary that is just enough yet essential for you to function as an informed and educated citizen. Please keep in mind, however, that this system is an evolving technology, and as a result, the article may contain accidental inaccuracies or errors. We urge you to help us improve our site by reporting any inaccuracies you find using the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of this page. Your helpful feedback helps us improve our system and deliver more precise content. When you find an article of interest here, please look for the full and extensive coverage of this topic in traditional news sources, as they are written by professional journalists that we try to support, not replace. We appreciate your understanding and assistance.

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
The driver has been described by authorities as a 21-year-old woman from Tallahassee
Joe Biden falls at the Air Force Graduation
America's Got Talent…
Elon Musk has been showered with praise by the Chinese public during his trip to China
Nvidia Joins Tech Giants as First Chipmaker to Reach $1 Trillion Valuation
Drone Attack on Moscow's Wealthiest Neighborhoods Suspected to be Launched by Ukraine
Elon Musk Meets Chinese Finance Minister in Beijing
AI ‘extinction’ should be same priority as nuclear war – experts
Chinese fighter jet buzzes U.S. Air Force spy plane over South China Sea
Prominent Hacker Forum RaidForums Suffers Substantial Data Breach
Nvidia CEO Huang says firms, individuals without AI expertise will be left behind
WPP Revolutionizes Advertising with NVIDIA's AI Powerhouse
Two US Employees Fired For Chasing Robbers Out Of Store As They Broke ''Company Policy''
Pfizer, the EU, and disappearing ink - Smoke, Mirrors, and the Billion-Dose Pfizer Vaccine Deal: EU's 'Open Secret
The Sussexes' Royal Rebound: Could Harry and Meghan Markle Return to the UK?
A provocative study suggests: Left-Wing Extremism and its Unsettling Connection to Psychopathy and Narcissism
Neuralink Receives FDA Approval for First-in-Human Clinical Study
Ukrainian Intelligence Official Admits to Assassination Attempts on Putin
WATCH THIS: democracy in Russia is so bad!
Ed Davey: It is possible for a woman to have a penis
Bernard Arnault Loses $11.2 Billion in One Day as Investors Fear Slowdown in US Growth Will Reduce Demand for Luxury Products
Russian’s Wagner Group leader: “I am not a chef, I am a butcher. Russia is in danger of a revolution like in 1917.”
TikTok Sues Montana Over Law Banning the App
Ron DeSantis Jumps Into 2024 Presidential Race, Setting Up Showdown With Trump
Steve Jobs introducing Apple's iPhone, exactly 16 years ago.
Banking Behemoth vs Ex-Boss: The PMorgan-Epstein Entanglement
China overtakes Japan as world's top car exporter
Talks between US House Republicans and President Biden's Democratic administration on raising the federal government's $31.4tn debt ceiling have paused
Biden Administration Eyeing High-Profile Visits to China: The Biden Administration is heating things up by looking into setting up a series of top-level visits to Beijing by top officials in the coming months
New evidence in special counsel probe may undercut Trump’s claim documents he took were automatically declassified
A French court of appeals confirmed former President Nicolas Sarkozy's three-year jail term for corruption and influence peddling
Debt Ceiling Crises Have Unleashed Political Chaos
Weibao Wang, a former software engineer at Apple, was charged with stealing trade secrets related to autonomous systems, including self-driving cars
Mobile phone giant Vodafone to cut 11,000 jobs globally over three years as new boss says its performance not good enough
Elon Musk compares George Soros to Magneto, the supervillain from the Marvel Comics series.
Warren Buffett Sells TSMC Shares Over Concerns About Taiwan's Stability
New Study Finds That Secondary Bacterial Pneumonia Is a Major Cause of Death in COVID-19 Patients Who Require Ventilator Assistance
The official tapes of Trump's deposition in the E. Jean Carroll battery (rape) and defamation case have been released.
King Charles III being crowned.
Newly released video of Donald Trump’s rape trial deposition:
Video: Ukraine MP Punches Russian Representative At Global Meet
El Paso mayor has declared a state of emergency
Russia accused Ukraine of attacking the Kremlin with drones in an attempt to kill Putin
Dutch court orders man who fathered 550 kids to stop donating sperm
Kim Kardashian Lookalike Christina Ashten Dies Of Cardiac Arrest, Hours After Plastic Surgery
Samsung has banned employees from using generative AI services such as ChatGPT
'Godfather Of AI' Geoffrey Hinton Quits Google To Warn Of The Tech's Dangers
A Real woman
Vermont Man Charged with Stalking After Secretly Tracking Woman with Apple AirTag
Elon Musk Statements About Tesla Autopilot Could Be 'Deepfakes,' Lawyers Claim. Judge Evette Pennypacker Does Not Understand How Far and Advanced This Technology Became