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Google's Bard chatbot has been blocked in the European Union over privacy concerns

Hugh Langley   

Google's Bard chatbot has been blocked in the European Union over privacy concerns
  • An EU regulator has blocked Google from launching Bard in the region.
  • The company had planned to launch Bard in the European Union this week.

Google has been forced to postpone the rollout of its Bard chatbot in the European Union over concerns raised by the EU's top data watchdog.

Google planned to launch Bard in the European Union this week, but the Irish Data Protection Commission said the company had not outlined how it plans to comply with the EU's data protection rules, Politico first reported.

A Google spokesperson told Insider that the company had spoken with the Data Protection Commission in recent weeks and shared relevant documentation, but did not elaborate on the specific reasons for the holdup – or how long it may be before Bard can launch in Europe.

"We said in May that we wanted to make Bard more widely available, including in the European Union, and that we would do so responsibly, after engagement with experts, regulators and policymakers," a Google spokesperson told Insider. "As part of that process, we've been talking with privacy regulators to address their questions and hear feedback."

Bard, which Google launched in March, has been rolled out gradually. The company says the tool, a conversational AI tool, is currently available in over 180 countries and territories.

The Irish Data Protection Commission is responsible for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU. GDPR, a set of data protection rules, gives individuals more control over how their data is used and transferred by businesses within EU member states.

Google's stumble highlights the race between companies to roll out generative AI products and lawmakers who are deciding how such technology should be regulated.

OpenAI, which builds ChatGPT, has also come to blows with EU regulators in recent weeks.

The company's CEO Sam Altman said in May that OpenAI may leave the bloc if it became too challenging to comply with proposed AI laws which could force generative AI companies to reveal the materials used to train their large language models. Altman later clarified that OpenAI has no current plans to exit Europe.

Got a tip? You can reach this reporter via encrypted email (hlangley@protonmail.com) or encrypted messaging apps Signal/Telegram (+1 628-228-1836).


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