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Snapchat's AI chatbot may pose privacy risk to children

09.10.2023 04:23 AM
Snapchat's AI chatbot may pose privacy risk to children
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Snapchat's AI chatbot may pose privacy risk to children

A UK regulator has raised concerns that Snapchat's AI-powered chatbot could put children's privacy at risk, with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the country's privacy watchdog, issuing a preliminary enforcement notice against the company over the failure. Potential to properly assess privacy risks posed by My AI chatbot.

According to what was reported by the “engadget” website, Information Commissioner John Edward said that the ICO’s interim findings from its investigations indicate a worrying failure on the part of Snapchat to adequately identify and assess privacy risks to children and other users before rolling out My AI.

The ICO has indicated that if Snapchat fails to adequately address its concerns, it may ban the ChatGPT-powered chatbot in the UK.

However, the initial notification does not necessarily mean that it will take action against Snapchat or that the company has violated data protection laws, and it will consider requests from Snapchat before it makes a final decision.

“My AI went through a robust legal and privacy review process before being made available to the public,” a Snapchat spokesperson told Reuters, adding, “We will continue to work constructively with the ICO to ensure they are comfortable with our risk assessment procedures.”

The ICO says that as of May, Snapchat had around 21 million monthly active users in the UK, many of whom were between 13 and 17 years old.

The regulator noted that My AI represents the first example of a generative artificial intelligence system to be added to the country's main messaging platform, as this feature first appeared for Snapchat+ subscribers in February, then Snapchat enabled it for all UK users in April. .

Parents have raised concerns about My AI, and not just about privacy considerations. "I don't think I'm ready to figure out how to teach my child how to emotionally separate humans from machines when they look the same from her perspective," the mother of a 13-year-old told CNN. "Just that there's a really clear line that Snapchat will cross."

The ICO has issued hefty fines against social media platforms in the past for mishandling children's data, and fined TikTok £12.7 million ($15.8 million) earlier this year after the platform was found to have violated data protection laws, including... Its handling of children's personal information.

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