Samsung bans staff from using generative AI after data leak


The South Korean electronics giant said staff would be restricted from using AI chatbots like ChatGPT and Google Bard following misuse by staff

This week, Samsung has become the latest in a string of major firms to raise a red flag over staff use of ChapGPT and similar AI solutions.

The company said that it had informed its staff in April that there had been cases of misuse of large language model (LLM) AI – a type of generative AI trained on massive data sets and capable of providing text-based answers to written queries.

According to a report from Bloomberg, Samsung had discovered evidence that staff had uploaded sensitive code to the ChatGPT platform, which would then theoretically be available to other users. As a result, the company has restricted staff from accessing such platforms using workplace equipment.

“We ask that you diligently adhere to our security guidelines and failure to do so may result in a breach or compromise of company information resulting in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment,” read the memo.

Samsung also advised its staff to use caution when interacting with ChatGPT and similar products in their private lives, suggesting they avoid exposing any personal or company-related information to the chatbots.

The ban is expected to be temporary, with the company saying it was searching for safe ways in which staff could interact with the technology in the workplace.

Concerns around the security and data privacy of AI platforms like ChatGPT are nothing new. The banking sector has been particularly cautious over the new technology’s capabilities, with the likes of Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan all restricting the use of such platforms for employees.

Part of the fear here is regulatory in nature; if these AI platforms can be shown to routinely share sensitive data – especially financial data – then national regulators are likely to impose their own restrictions, which could impact

Indeed, this regulatory process appears to have already begun in Italy, with the country’s privacy regulator announcing in March that it would block access to ChatGPT and investigate whether the platform complied with General Data Protection Regulation.

The regulator subsequently suggested numerous tweaks to the platform that would be required to assuage their privacy concerns, with OpenAI, the owners of ChatGPT, quick to make many of the requisite changes. As such, this week the regulator announced that it will lift its ban and allow Italian users access to the platform once again.

There is no denying the disruptive potential of generative AI, but with security and privacy questions still largely unanswered, it seems only natural that businesses will remain cautious over its use for some time yet.

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