ChatGPT Is Blocked in Italy. Here’s How You Can Regain Access
Since April 1, ChatGPT has been blocked for Italian users. Now, you’re probably wondering why this happened and whether there’s a way to access it. Stay tuned – we’ll clear things up.
No, it isn’t another April Fools’ Day joke – on April 1, ChatGPT was officially banned in Italy by the local Data Protection Authority. The official reason is the OpenAI service’s potential violation of privacy laws. For millions of users, this news came like a bolt from the blue, as the popularity of this chatbot is currently at its peak. Nevertheless, if you’re an Italian citizen, temporary resident, or even a tourist, you will no longer be able to access ChatGPT in this country. So what’s the real reason behind the ChatGPT ban in Italy, and, most importantly, can you still access it? Read on to find out the answers.
Why was ChatGPT banned in Italy?
As mentioned, ChatGPT was disabled for Italian users by the Italian Garante – a local authority responsible for the country’s data protection laws. Soon afterward, they introduced a statement reasoning this decision. All in all, it consists of four main points:
- ChatGPT may violate privacy laws. The Garante announced an investigation in this regard. In particular, they suspect that OpenAI’s solution breaks the most significant online privacy law of the European Union – the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The thing is that ChatGPT potentially uses people’s personal information to train its latest version – GPT-4 – without informing users about it. As a result, it possibly breaks one of the main GDPR principles stating that online services should be transparent about how they collect and adopt customer data.
- ChatGPT doesn’t protect minors from potentially inappropriate content. According to The Garante, the service fails to ensure online safety for children as it lacks age verification. By the way, due to the same concerns, Google recently limited the use of Bard, another popular AI chatbot.
- ChatGPT isn’t accurate. Though it’s not news, the Italian authority is also concerned about the lack of accuracy in chatbot’s answers. The potential risks here are obvious – people rely heavily on data provided by ChatGPT, which may result in making critical mistakes. After all, even the creators of the tool warned users that the solution shouldn’t be used for really important matters.
- ChatGPT experienced a data breach. The latest press release of the Italian Authority sheds a bit more light on this tangled story. According to this report, the main reason for the ban was a breach that occurred on March 20 and resulted in a payment data leak (which was then confirmed by OpenAI).
Indeed, ChatGPT poses certain risks related to Internet privacy and security. To learn more, read our recent article on this topic. Still, the decision of the Italian government was striking – Italy is the first Western country that has banned ChatGPT.
The new rules took effect immediately. ChatGPT is now geo-blocked in Italy, so once you try to access it from this country, you will receive the following message:
The OpenAI support team promises a refund to Italian users who purchased the premium version of ChatGPT. It also claims that ChatGPT complies with GDPR and other privacy laws. At the same time, Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, was even more concise. He tweeted that the service follows all privacy laws (and that he loves Italy).
However, the users’ reaction was less restrained.
What do users say after ChatGPT got banned in Italy?
ChatGPT has become a skyrocketing hit after its launch in November last year (over 1 million users in five days!) And that is not surprising since this innovative chatbot has already proven to be an effective and helpful tool for various use cases. In particular, people can ask ChatGPT to create marketing content, social media posts, product descriptions, blog articles, and many more. Also, the chatbot can write and debug code, and developers are already using it to facilitate certain tasks.
That said, it’s obvious why users in Italy were quite disappointed about the unexpected ban.
Some already proposed to fight for their freedoms and run a petition.
Others complain that the inability to access ChatGPT prevents them from doing important research and completing critical work tasks.
Meanwhile, some privacy-conscious users are even happy that big corporations have to deal with consequences if they mistreat customer privacy.
Finally, some always find room for jokes.
Besides, it’s worth noting that the Italian ban may appear to be just the tip of the iceberg. Some experts believe the same limitations could soon be applied in other European countries, since GDPR is valid throughout the European Union.
Okay, it’s time to find out whether we should expect ChatGPT to soon be blocked in more countries, and where it’s already inaccessible.
Other countries where OpenAI services are not available
Immediately after the launch, ChatGPT became available in most parts of the world. However, it can’t be used in several countries with limited Internet freedom, including the following ones:
- North Korea
The service was also initially unavailable in Ukraine, but the country gained access to OpenAi in February 2023.
But soon after the Italian government kicked off their investigation of ChatGPT-related privacy concerns, many started talking about the potential ban in other countries. In particular, in a recent interview for the Handelsblatt newspaper, a data protection commissioner warned that similar restrictions might take place in Germany. But it should be noted that he didn’t mention any specific plans or dates in this regard.
Now that you know why ChatGPT is no longer available in Italy (and can potentially be limited in other countries soon), let’s figure out if there’s a way to overcome those blocks.
How to regain access to ChatGPT in Italy
As mentioned above, ChatGPT has been geo-blocked in Italy. But how does this limitation work? Simply put, the OpenAI website can spot your current location through your IP address. As a result, if you’re traveling to Italy (or another country where ChatGPT isn’t working), you will see the following message: “OpenAI services are not available in your country.”
Luckily, there are several ways to get around geographical limitations – you can read our recent blog post on this topic to learn more. But in general, the most efficient method is using a VPN for ChatGPT. Such a tool alters your IP with an address of the chosen VPN server in another location. This way, the services or websites you visit can’t detect where you actually are. Besides, a VPN protects your data with end-to-end encryption. It means that neither your Internet service provider (ISP) nor the online services you’re using can snoop on you.
Now, let’s say you’re going to Italy for your vacation and want to access ChatGPT. Here’s how to do it hassle-free with a VPN.
How to use a VPN to access ChatGPT
- Select a credible VPN service provider. Note that free VPNs are often unreliable since they lack essential features and may even compromise your privacy. So it’s better to opt for a reputable service like VeePN that follows a transparent No Logs policy.
- Sign up for VeePN. You can pick a pricing plan that suits your needs best. Moreover, a single VeePN subscription covers up to 10 devices simultaneously.
- Download and install the VeePN app. It’s simple – just choose the solution for your device and get it from the official website. VeePN is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and more.
- Open the app and choose the preferred server. VeePN provides access to over 2,500 servers across 89 locations in 60 countries.
- Enter the OpenAI website. Log in to your existing account or create a new one. Next, head to Product > ChatGPT.
- You’re all set! ChatGPT should be up and running again – ask it whatever you like.
Please note that VeePN is the VPN service not intended to be used for conducting any illegal acts. Please remember to check whether there are any restrictions in your particular country before doing anything potentially questionable. Please be informed that if some action is illegal without using a VPN, it will also be illegal with its use.
How to troubleshoot VPN connection
If you’ve faced any trouble accessing ChatGPT with a VPN, don’t give up. Here is what you can do to fine-tune your VPN connection.
- Clear your browsing history, cookies, and other data.
- Open your VeePN app and pick another VPN server.
- Change your VPN protocol (OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec are the most efficient solutions against geoblocking).
- Return to the OpenAI website and try using ChatGPT once again.
Need to access ChatGPT or any other geo-limited content while keeping your browsing activities private and secure? Try VeePN! It’s a top-rated VPN service with multiple handy features and an extensive network of servers worldwide. Download VeePN today and safeguard yourself with a 30-day money-back guarantee!
FAQ: ChatGPT banned in Italy
The reason why ChatGPT is not available varies depending on your location. For example, if you’re in China, Iran, Russia, or Egypt, ChatGPT is blocked due to strict online censorship. Meanwhile, in Italy, OpenAI services are banned due to the decision of local data protection authorities concerned that ChatGPT is potentially violating users’ private data. Read this article for more information.
Since ChatGPT was banned in Italy due to issues related to data privacy (including a data breach that occurred on March 20), other European countries can make the same decision. That is because they have the same customer data protection laws, such as GDPR. Check out this article to learn more.
ChatCPT got banned in Italy due to four main reasons:
- The potential violation of customer data privacy
- A recent ChatGPT data breach that involved users’ banking credentials
- The lack of age restrictions for using ChatGPT
- The service’s inaccuracy that may result in critical mistakes
For more details, read this article.
The countries where ChatGPT is unavailable include China, Egypt, Iran, Russia, Belarus, Venezuela, Afghanistan, and North Korea. Also, ChatGPT was banned in Italy on April 1. Read this article to find out if it’s still possible to access OpenAI services in those countries.