- The ICO is evaluating Snapchat's AI chatbot, "My AI", for potential privacy risks to children.
- John Edwards, the Information Commissioner, highlighted potential oversight by Snapchat in assessing privacy risks before the chatbot's launch.
- Snapchat responded, emphasizing its commitment to user privacy and its prior stringent review processes for "My AI".
October 7, 2023: The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is closely examining Snapchat’s artificial intelligence chatbot, “My AI”, for possible privacy threats posed to its younger user base.
The data watchdog expressed its apprehensions on Friday about Snapchat potentially overlooking the privacy risks that the chatbot might present to children.
Snapchat, similar to other social media platforms, mandates its users to be at least 13 years old. Despite this stipulation, the effectiveness of such platforms in barring younger children remains a matter of debate.
John Edwards, the Information Commissioner, stated, “Our preliminary findings indicate a concerning oversight by Snap in thoroughly recognizing and evaluating the privacy dangers to children and other users prior to introducing ‘My AI‘.”
However, the ICO made it clear that these initial observations don’t imply Snapchat has contravened UK data protection laws. It further mentioned that it hasn’t concluded whether it will issue a formal enforcement notice.
If Snapchat fails to sufficiently address these concerns, the ICO hinted that “My AI”, which was introduced in April, might face prohibition in the UK.
In response, Snap expressed its commitment to user privacy. A representative from Snap commented, “Prior to its public launch, ‘My AI’ underwent a comprehensive legal and privacy scrutiny.
We remain dedicated to working collaboratively with the ICO to ensure our risk evaluation measures meet their expectations.”
The ICO’s inquiry focuses on how “My AI” manages the personal data of about 21 million Snapchat users in the UK, especially children in the age bracket of 13-17.
Driving the chatbot “My AI” is the technology from OpenAI’s ChatGPT. This generative AI is a notable illustration in its domain and is presently on the radar of international policymakers who are deliberating on regulation strategies considering privacy and security challenges.
Earlier in August, Reuters highlighted the regulator’s efforts to determine if Snapchat has been proactive enough in excluding underage users from its platform.