Snapchat’s AI chatbot, My AI, has come under fire recently due to concerns about child privacy risks. The UK regulatory body, the Commissioner’s Office (ICO), has issued a warning regarding potential privacy risks to children.
One of the ICO’s main concerns is that Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, allegedly failed to assess the privacy risks of the chatbot before its official launch. While the warning does not indicate a breach has been found, the ICO may block the chatbot in the UK if appropriate actions are not taken.
The ICO’s focus is primarily on children aged 13 to 17, who are covered by the Children’s Design Code, a set of data protection rules implemented in 2021.
Snapchat’s My AI chatbot was initially introduced as an exclusive feature for Premium subscribers in February. It was designed to act as a virtual friend, answering questions and offering advice. After a testing period, the chatbot was made available to all Snapchat users, including those under the age of 18.
However, there have been concerns about the chatbot’s actions. Despite claims from Snap that the chatbot has strict moderation and safeguarding features, there have been instances where it has provided inappropriate advice. For example, it suggested ways for a 15-year-old user to hide the smell of alcohol.
In response to the ICO’s warning, Snap has emphasized its commitment to protecting user privacy. The company is currently reviewing the ICO’s decision and intends to collaborate with the regulatory body to ensure they are satisfied with Snap’s risk assessment procedures.
It is important for Snap to address the concerns raised by the ICO to ensure the safe and responsible use of their chatbot, especially when it comes to children’s privacy. By taking appropriate actions and implementing necessary safeguards, Snap can demonstrate their dedication to protecting user privacy and ensuring the chatbot’s responsible use.
Overall, the controversy surrounding Snapchat’s AI chatbot highlights the importance of privacy protection, particularly for younger users. The ICO’s warning serves as a reminder to companies to thoroughly assess any potential privacy risks before launching new features or services. By upholding data protection rules and prioritizing user privacy, companies can foster a safer online environment for children and users of all ages.