More Canadian privacy authorities investigating ChatGPT’s use of personal information
Federal and provincial privacy authorities in Canada are pursuing a joint investigation into OpenAI, the company that makes ChatGPT, after receiving a complaint about the firm’s disclosure of personal information.
A statement on Thursday said provincial authorities in Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec have joined the investigation launched by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada in April because the issue affects people across the country.
“Given the broad scope and significant privacy impact of artificial intelligence and its relevance to all Canadians, the four offices have decided to jointly investigate the matter,” the statement read.
The complaint that sparked the investigation claimed the company unlawfully collected, used and disclosed personal information without consent through ChatGPT, its artificial intelligence-powered chatbot.
The investigation will examine whether OpenAI received “valid and meaningful” information-sharing consent from ChatGPT users based in Canada. It will also look at whether the company used information for unreasonable or illegitimate reasons.
The statement said privacy offices often work together on issues with nationwide implications because privacy laws in all four provinces are “substantially similar” to federal legislation.
CBC News has contacted OpenAI for comment.
OpenAI is a California-based research and development firm co-founded by Elon Musk. Its backers include Microsoft and billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel, who was one of the first outside investors in Facebook.
ChatGPT is a program that has captivated users by generating conversational, human-like responses when users type in questions or tasks — from drafting awkward emails to writing complex computer code and and planning summer vacations.
The cutting-edge software has drawn privacy and misinformation concerns elsewhere since its launch in November. Italy became the first country to temporarily ban the program by government order after its own data protection authority launched an investigation in April over the app’s suspected breach of privacy rules.
ChatGPT is not available in China, Iran, North Korea or Russia because OpenAI did not make it accessible in those countries.
Halifax-area wildfire 85% contained and not expected to spread, officials say – CBC.ca
If the power or data on your device is low, get your wildfire updates on CBC Lite. It’s our low-bandwidth, text-only website.
A wildfire burning northwest of Halifax is now 85 per cent contained, as Nova Scotia is getting much-needed rain Saturday.
Dave Steeves, a technician of forest resources with the Department of Natural Resources, said the fire hasn’t grown and is still about 950 hectares in size.
“We have changed from ‘out of control’ to a state of being held,” Steeves said during a media briefing early Saturday.
He said that means the fire is not likely to spread.
“The rain that we are getting now is going to help the suppression issues, but that being said this fire is not out and it will not be declared out for some time.”
He said any additional resources will be heading down to Shelburne County, where a massive wildfire is burning.
Some residents who had been evacuated from the area were allowed to return home on Friday, including those on Lucasville Road, St. George Boulevard and in the Stillwater Lake area.
Another livestreamed briefing is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday.
The Halifax Regional Municipality declared a local state of emergency Sunday night in order to access additional support.
Late Friday, the municipality said some resources were no longer required.
The comfort centre at the Beaver Bank Kinsac Community Centre has closed, and the Canada Games Centre has transitioned from a 24-hour evacuation centre to a comfort centre.
Comfort centres remain open at:
- Canada Games Centre | 26 Thomas Raddall Drive will operate as a comfort centre from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 3.
- Black Point and Area Community Centre | 8579 St. Margarets Bay Road will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 3.
According to a release, Nova Scotia Health’s mobility primary care clinic is hosting a drop-in clinic at the Canada Games Centre on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Major insurance companies will be available to speak with affected residents on Saturday at the Canada Games Centre. Future opportunities to speak with representatives will be available in the coming days.
Hundreds killed after passenger trains derail in India, officials say
At least 233 people were killed and 900 were injured when two passenger trains collided in India’s Odisha state, a government official said on Saturday, making the rail accident the country’s deadliest in more than a decade.
The death toll from Friday’s crash is expected to increase, state Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said in a tweet.
He said over 200 ambulances had been called to the scene of the accident in Odisha’s Balasore district and 100 additional doctors, on top of 80 already there, had been mobilized.
Early on Saturday morning, Reuters video footage showed police officials moving bodies covered in white cloths off the railway tracks.
Footage from Friday showed rescuers climbing up the mangled wreck of one of the trains to find survivors, while passengers called for help and sobbed next to the wreckage.
2 express trains collided
The collision occurred at about 7 p.m. local time on Friday when the Howrah Superfast Express, running from Bangalore to Howrah, West Bengal, collided with the Coromandel Express, which runs from Kolkata to Chennai.
Authorities have provided conflicting accounts on which train derailed first to become entangled with the other. The Ministry of Railways said it has initiated an investigation into the crash.
Although Chief Secretary Jena and some media reports have suggested a freight train was also involved in the crash, railway authorities have yet to comment on that possibility.
An extensive search-and-rescue operation has been mounted, involving hundreds of fire department personnel and police officers as well as sniffer dogs. National Disaster Response Force teams were also at the site.
On Friday, hundreds of young people lined up outside a government hospital in Odisha’s Soro to donate blood.
According to Indian Railways, its network facilitates the transportation of more than 13 million people every day. But the state-run monopoly has had a patchy safety record because of aging infrastructure.
Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik declared a day of state mourning on June 3 as a mark of respect to the victims.
Meta to start blocking news content for up to 5% of Canadian Facebook, Instagram users
Meta will soon block some Canadian users of Facebook and Instagram from accessing or posting news content on either platform.
The move, which the social media giant announced in a blog post on Thursday, comes in reaction to the looming passage into law of Bill C-18, the Online News Act.
Facebook has said it will be forced to block news content from its platforms in Canada if the bill becomes law, something that could happen as soon as this month as the bill is currently being considered in the Senate.
Among other stipulations, the bill would require tech giants to pay Canadian media companies for linking to or otherwise repurposing their content online.
“As we prepare to comply with the legislation, we are announcing today that we will begin tests on both platforms that will limit some users and publishers from viewing or sharing some news content in Canada,” Meta said.
- Are you a Facebook or Instagram user? Do you use those platforms to share the news? We want to speak to you as part of a story. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Between one and five per cent of the 24 million Canadians who use Facebook or Instagram will be included in the test, which is set to start soon.
Different content may be blocked for different users on different platforms, said Rachel Curran, the head of public policy for Meta Canada.
“It won’t be a uniform experience, necessarily,” she said. “Some news links won’t be shareable on Facebook, but it might not be that experience on Instagram. It will be a different experience on different surfaces.”
“Throughout the testing period, which will run for several weeks, a small percentage of people in Canada who are enrolled in testing will be notified if they attempt to share news content.”
The test means that a user would not see links to articles or videos from news publishers anywhere in their feed. A user would also be blocked from sharing such content to other people.
News publishers will be able to post news links and content, but some of it will not be viewable in Canada.
Users who will be included in the test will be selected randomly, and will only be made aware that they’re included if they attempt to share news, at which point they will see a notification that they are unable to.
The number of news publishers who will have their content included in the test will not be public and is also randomized, but could include international publishers that operate in Canada. The publishers will be notified if they have been included in the test, Meta says.
News industry decries move
Paul Deegan, the head of News Media Canada, called Meta’s move a “kick in the shins” to Canadians at a time when the value and need for credible information has never been greater.
“Meta’s decision to ‘unfriend’ Canada by denying access to trusted sources of news for some of their users, as wildfires burn and when public safety is at stake is irresponsible and tone deaf,” Deegan told CBC News in an email.
“This hard-nose lobbying tactic is more evidence of the power imbalance that exists between dominant platforms and publishers, which is why parliamentarians need to pass the Online News Act before their summer recess.”
Meta’s move comes on the heels of a similar move by Google earlier this year, when it blocked news results for more than a million Canadians, also in opposition to the bill.
Meta says Bill C-18 is “fundamentally flawed legislation that ignores the realities of how our platforms work, the preferences of the people who use them, and the value we provide news publishers.”
Curran told senators pondering the bill in a committee last month that the company objects to being asked to compensate news publishers for their content, when by their calculation they have given news publishers more than 1.9 million clicks in Canada in the past year, “and free marketing worth more than $230 million in estimated value.”
“We will be forced to compensate news publishers for material that they post to drive traffic and drive clicks back to their page and websites where they can then monetize those views and eyeballs either through a paywall or they can place ads against the views that show up on their web page,” she said. “We are being asked to compensate them for an activity that actually benefits them from a monetary perspective.”
Government calls move ‘disappointing’
Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez called Meta’s move “disappointing” and said Canadians will not be intimidated by these tactics.
Legacy media and broadcasters have praised the bill, which promises to “enhance fairness” in the digital news marketplace and help bring in more money for shrinking newsrooms. Tech giants including Meta and Google have been blamed in the past for disrupting and dominating the advertising industry, eclipsing smaller, traditional players.
Meta, which is based in Menlo Park, Calif., has taken similar steps in the past. In 2021, it briefly blocked news from its platform in Australia after the country passed legislation that would compel tech companies to pay publishers for using their news stories. It later struck deals with Australian publishers.
Meta also reached a deal with U.K. publishers that year, after similar discussions.
Accountable Tech, a U.S.-based advocacy group pushing for more regulation of technology companies in that country, says the news blackouts in various countries show the lengths that big tech companies will go to in order to sway governments and maintain their profits.
“What we witnessed unfold in Australia, and now in Canada, is Big Tech’s willingness to cripple democracy by withholding news content to a population — chosen at random — as a bargaining chip to stop legislation,” the group’s executive director Nicole Gill said.
“It’s clear that Meta has no interest in acting in good faith or improving the lives of its users and the communities they operate in. There is simply no reason for the U.S. to delay any action on reining them in.”
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