Class action lawsuit filed against OpenAI over “stolen private information”

OpenAI, developer of ChatGPT, has been hit with a class action lawsuit alleging misappropriation of personal data scraped from the web

The legal action, which has been filed in a San Francisco federal court, accuses generative AI startup OpenAI of stealing the data of millions of internet users — including children — without proper permission, reported Bloomberg.

16 named plantiffs collectively claim that private information from individuals’ interactions with ChatGPT and DALL-E integrations has been illegally accessed, which if proved to be true would breach legislation including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act — a law that has precedent for web scraping cases.

The almost 160-page complaint comments: “Despite established protocols for the purchase and use of personal information, defendants took a different approach: theft.”

Integrations within applications including payments platform Stripe, as well as communication platforms such as Slack and Microsoft Teams, allow for access and processing of image and location data.

Microsoft, a major investor in OpenAI, has been cited as a defendant in the case. OpenAI is yet to comment on the claim.

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Balancing creativity with guardrails

In reaction to this development, Vered Horesh, chief strategic AI partnerships at generative AI visuals company Bria, said: “The crucial issue of data sourcing for this technology cannot be overlooked.

“In our collective interest, we must advocate for the responsible procurement of data powering Generative AI, without stifling human creativity. If we diminish incentives for human original expression, what substance will be left to fuel AI?

“It is imperative to establish legal and business frameworks fostering an environment where human creativity and progress not only coexist but thrive.”

Generative AI regulation drafting is picking up globally, with the EU’s European Parliament in particular voting in its EU AI Act.


ChatGPT vs GDPR – what AI chatbots mean for data privacyWhile OpenAI’s ChatGPT is taking the large language model space by storm, there is much to consider when it comes to data privacy.

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.