The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) has reportedly blocked the launch of Google’s generative artificial intelligence (AI) service, Bard, in the European Union over privacy concerns.
Google launched Bard in the United States, United Kingdom and 178 other countries earlier this year. However, it’s so far been unable to crack the EU. The Mountain View, California company reportedly intended to remedy that during the week of June 13, but as Politico reports, those plans have come to a halt.
Per the report, DPC deputy commissioner Graham Doyle stated that Google only recently informed the commission of its intention to launch Bard in the EU this week.
He went on to explain that Google hadn’t provided the commission with “any detailed briefing nor sight of a data protection impact assessment or any supporting documentation.” As a result, said Doyle, “Bard will not now launch this week.”
The EU's approach to AI regulation has been described as being far stricter than neighboring efforts in the U.K. and those in the United States.
European data protection supervisor Wojciech Wiewiórowski previously quipped that “the definition of hell is European legislation with American enforcement” after OpenAI’s ChatGPT was recently banned in Italy over privacy concerns.
It appears that Google finds itself in a similar situation with EU regulators. It’s worth noting that ChatGPT was eventually approved for use in Italy after OpenAI addressed regulators’ privacy concerns.
The push for greater regulatory focus on AI technologies in the EU stems from the EU AI Act, a proposed framework for regulating artificial intelligence in the European Union filed in May 2023.
Its drafters seek to align governance of AI technologies with the General Data Protection Regulation, a sweeping set of rules meant to protect citizens’ privacy.
Much like the Markets in Crypto-Assets legislation, the EU’s AI Act appears to have vastly different requirements for companies operating in the EU than in the U.K. or U.S., including a greater emphasis on security, privacy and accountability.