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Google Bard's EU launch gets delayed due to privacy issues

The Google Bard logo

When Google announced back in May that its Bard chatbot AI service would launch "worldwide", it failed to mention that would not include the countries that are a part of the European Union, due to concerns over privacy issues. Today, it appears a planned EU launch for Bard this week has been pushed back over those same concerns.

Politico EU reports that the Irish Data Protection Commission was told by Google that it wanted to launch Bard in the EU this week. However, the Ireland data regulator stated that Google "had not had any detailed briefing nor sight of a data protection impact assessment or any supporting documentation at this point." Therefore, the Bard EU launch has been postponed indefinitely.

The article also has a quote from a Google spokesperson, who stated:

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. As part of that process, we’ve been talking with privacy regulators to address their questions and hear feedback.

The European Union's rules for data and privacy are covered by its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and so far, it looks like Bard has yet to satisfy those requirements. The UK does have its own version of the GDPR but Bard is allowed to operate in that country under those regulations.

Ironically, back in March, Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon stated that banning chatbots shouldn't be rushed into by countries, stating that "... it's time to be having those conversations now rather than rushing into prohibitions that really aren't going to stand up."

You may remember that back in March, Italy's data protection agency blocked the use of OpenAI's ChatGPT in that country over privacy issues. That block was removed a few weeks later, after OpenAI put in some safeguards. They included asking new users if they were 18 years of age and over, or if they were between 13 to 17 years old to ask a parent or guardian to use it.

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