AI Technology and Privacy: Canadian Privacy Commissioner Launches Investigation into ChatGPT

  • May 02, 2023
  • Roland Hung, Torkin Manes LLP


On April 4, 2023, Canada’s Privacy Commissioner, Philippe Dufresne, launched an investigation into OpenAI after having received a complaint alleging the collection, use and disclosure of personal information without consent.  


Launched in November 2022, ChatGPT is a generative artificial intelligence (“AI”) chatbot that was developed by OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research laboratory whose objective is to promote and develop a friendly AI. Like other forms of AI, generative AI (such as ChatGPT) learns how to take actions from past data. It creates brand new content (such as text, imagery or computer codes) based on training it received from past data, instead of simply categorizing or identifying data like other forms of AI.

Having gained popularity and interest for its language processing abilities, ChatGPT has become a buzzword in the last few months, capturing the public’s fancy and inspiring other technology companies, like Microsoft and Alphabet, to launch their own AI technology that they believe will change the nature of work.

Millions of users worldwide have accessed ChatGPT in the past few months. The debate around AI has changed from being one in the realm of science fiction to a debate on ethical and legal implications, including issues related to privacy, intellectual property and security, among others. Various governments around the world, including the Canadian government, are attempting to find a way to regulate AI that would strike a balance between fostering innovation and the risks (including legal risks) associated with such technology.