Snapchat ‘My AI’ Feature Faces UK Ban Over Privacy Concerns

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A recent Snapchat feature called ‘My AI,’ which uses OpenAI’s technology, is under scrutiny in the UK over concerns of child privacy violation and inadequate risk assessment. The threat of a potential ban looms as UK officials press major AI firms like OpenAI and Google for deeper insights into their AI models’ workings.

This scrutiny comes amid negotiations with the EU ahead of a safety summit.

Snapchat Under Fire in the UK for Questionable AI Feature

The ‘My AI’ feature, launched in April, allows Snapchat users to converse with an AI. However, the UK’s privacy regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), has expressed concern that Snap Inc. has not conducted a proper risk assessment concerning child privacy.

The ICO observed,

“Investigation provisionally finds Snap failed to adequately identify and assess the risks to several million ‘My AI’ users in the UK including children aged 13 to 17.”

The ICO’s findings are provisional, and Snap Inc. has the opportunity to prove the regulator wrong. However, the ‘My AI’ feature may be banned in the UK if it fails.

The ICO added,

“If a final enforcement notice were to be adopted, Snap may be required to stop processing data in connection with ‘My AI.’ This means not offering the ‘My AI’ product to UK users pending Snap carrying out an adequate risk assessment.”

Snapchat users in the UK 2020-2023. Source: Statista

Global AI Regulation Summit Coming Next Month

Simultaneously, UK officials are urging AI companies to disclose the inner workings of their AI models. This request comes as the UK government negotiates with the EU ahead of an AI safety summit. However, AI companies have been reluctant to share details for commercial and cybersecurity reasons.

A government source said:

“There is no button these companies can just press to make it happen. These are open and unresolved research questions.”

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has hosted an AI summit for global leaders, aiming to boost his approval ratings. The focus of the summit was to discuss the novel cybersecurity and bio-warfare threats posed by AI.

Read more: Will AI Replace Humans?

This initiative is part of a broader push for increased regulation following the rapid advancement of AI products and the chips that power them.

The UK government’s eagerness to regulate the space could be seen as overreaching. By hosting the AI summit, Sunak aims to bolster his standing against Labour’s Starmer before the upcoming elections.

The UK’s approach to AI regulation is unfolding as it seeks to strengthen ties with key European Union members post-Brexit while maintaining its economic and scientific distinctiveness.


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