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Lawsuit Claims Open AI Stole ‘Massive Amounts Of Personal Data’ To Train ChatGPT

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OpenAI stole “massive amounts of personal data” to train ChatGPT, a lawsuit alleges.

According to the proposed class-action lawsuit, Sam Altman’s business “secretly” collected data to train its sophisticated language models, which allowed its chatbot to mimic human speech.

“Despite established protocols for the purchase and use of personal information, Defendants took a different approach: theft,” the lawyers wrote in the 157-page lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

Per the lawsuit, OpenAI amassed enormous amounts of data by web crawling, including a sizable amount of information obtained from social media websites. According to the lawsuit, OpenAI’s proprietary AI corpus of personal data, WebText2, for instance, scraped enormous amounts of information from Reddit posts and the websites they linked to.

The data accessed included “private information and private conversations, medical data, information about children — essentially every piece of data exchanged on the internet it could take — without notice to the owners or users of such data, much less with anyone’s permission,” per the lawsuit.

This amounted to “the negligent and otherwise illegal theft of personal data of millions of Americans who do not even use AI tools,” the lawsuit claims.

Outside of regular business hours, Insider contacted OpenAI for comment, but they did not respond right away.

The lawsuit asserts that in addition to scraping the “digital footprints” of the general public, OpenAI also stores and makes public the private information of users, including the information they provide when creating OpenAI accounts, their chat log data, and social media data.

This includes information from users of applications like Snapchat, Stripe, Spotify, Microsoft Teams, and Slack, among others, that have integrated ChatGPT, the lawsuit claims. The businesses did not answer Insider’s request for comments right away.

In order to prevent OpenAI’s products from “surpassing human intelligence and harming others,” the lawsuit is asking that commercial access to and development of them be temporarily halted until more regulations and safeguards have been put in place by the business. People whose data was accessed to train the bots are also entitled to financial compensation, according to the lawsuit.

Major supporter Microsoft was also listed as a defendant in addition to OpenAI.

The plaintiffs were identified only by their initials, occupations, and state, which their lawyers said was to “avoid intrusive scrutiny as well as any potentially dangerous backlash.”

Generative AI, which can create text, audio, images, and videos, has exploded in popularity since OpenAI released its ChatGPT in November. People have been using generative AI for personal, professional, and academic purposes, though there are concerns about its access to data.

Politics

Democrats Block SAVE Act in Senate, Allowing Potential for Illegal Immigrant Voting

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Senate Democrats have thwarted the passage of the SAVE Act, a pivotal bill aimed at bolstering the integrity of federal elections by mandating proof of citizenship for voting eligibility. This move follows the House’s approval of the bill with a narrow vote of 221-198, where almost all Democrats opposed the measure.

The SAVE Act seeks to amend the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to enforce stricter voter registration standards. Specifically, it proposes that voters must furnish documentary evidence of U.S. citizenship to participate in federal elections, diverging from current regulations that only require such proof for state and local elections.

Senator Mike Lee, commending Representative Chip Roy for the bill’s passage, emphasized the necessity for Senate action, asserting, “Federal elections are only for U.S. citizens.”

However, despite efforts to expedite the bill in the Senate, Democrats raised objections, preventing its immediate passage. Senator Lee expressed frustration over the blockage, highlighting the potential consequences: “It’ll stop noncitizens from voting.”

In a statement on the Senate floor, Senator Lee voiced deep concerns, citing a recent study revealing significant opportunities for illegal voting by noncitizens. The study indicated that between 10% to 27% of noncitizens are registered to vote, with 5% to 13% actually participating in presidential elections.

Instances of voter fraud, including noncitizens illegally registered to vote, have been documented across the country. Reports have surfaced of unsolicited voter registration forms sent to noncitizens and inadequate checks during driver’s license issuance, contributing to vulnerabilities in the electoral system.

A video shared by Mike Howell, Executive Director of the Heritage Oversight Project, in collaboration with Muckraker.com, further underscored concerns. The video exposed instances of illegal aliens admitting to voter registration in North Carolina, emphasizing the need to safeguard American elections from foreign influence.

The SAVE Act’s blockade in the Senate has ignited a contentious debate over electoral integrity and the role of citizenship in voting rights. As the legislative battle continues, the future of federal voting regulations remains uncertain, with implications for the upcoming 2024 elections.

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2024 Race

Wisconsin Supreme Court Reinstates Unstaffed Drop Boxes Ahead of 2024 Election

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In a significant ruling on July 5, the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided to reinstate the use of unstaffed drop boxes for absentee ballots, reversing the prohibition that had been in effect since 2022. The court’s 4–3 decision marks a pivotal change in Wisconsin’s election procedures ahead of the 2024 elections.

In 2022, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that state law did not allow for absentee drop boxes to be placed anywhere other than in election clerk offices. This decision effectively banned the use of unmanned drop boxes, which had been widely utilized in previous elections to facilitate absentee voting.

The reversal of the 2022 ruling was influenced by a change in the court’s composition. A new justice was elected in 2023, which led to a re-evaluation of the previous decision. During the arguments in May, Justice Jill Karofsky questioned the validity of the 2022 ruling, suggesting that it may have been a mistake. “What if we just got it wrong? What if we made a mistake? Are we now supposed to just perpetuate that mistake into the future?” Karofsky asked during the proceedings.

The court heard arguments three months before the August 13 primary and six months ahead of the November presidential election. Attorneys representing Republican backers of the 2022 ruling contended that there had been no changes in the facts or the law to justify overturning a decision that was less than two years old. Misha Tseytlin, at torney for the Republican-controlled Legislature, argued that overturning the ruling could lead to future instability, as the court might have to revisit the issue whenever its composition changes.

However, Justice Karofsky countered this by pointing out the potential flaws in the 2022 decision, questioning whether the court should continue to uphold a ruling that was “egregiously wrong from the start” with “exceptionally weak” reasoning and damaging consequences.

Democrats and voting rights advocates argued that the 2022 ruling misinterpreted the law by concluding that absentee ballots could only be returned to a clerk’s office and not to a drop box controlled by the clerk. David Fox, attorney for the groups challenging the prohibition, described the current law as unworkable and unclear about where ballots can be returned.

Several justices expressed concerns about revisiting the previous ruling, with Justice Rebecca Bradley cautioning against the court acting as a “super Legislature” and giving municipal clerks excessive discretion in conducting elections.

The case was brought by voter mobilization group Priorities USA and the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Voters. Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which oversees the state’s elections, supported the use of drop boxes. Election officials from four counties, including the state’s two largest, also filed briefs in support of overturning the prohibition, arguing that drop boxes had been used securely for decades.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys highlighted the practical impact of the 2022 ruling, noting that over 1,600 absentee ballots arrived late and were not counted in the 2022 election when drop boxes were not in use. By contrast, in the 2020 election, when drop boxes were available, only 689 ballots arrived after Election Day, despite a significantly higher number of absentee voters.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate unstaffed drop boxes is a crucial development in the state’s election laws, potentially increasing accessibility and convenience for absentee voters. As the 2024 elections approach, this ruling may have significant implications for voter turnout and the administration of elections in Wisconsin.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Elon Musk Backs Voter Bill Aimed at Providing Proof of U.S. Citizenship to Vote, Labels Opponents as “Traitors”

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Elon Musk recently voiced strong support for the SAVE Act, a bill proposed by House Speaker Mike Johnson aimed at ensuring only U.S. citizens can vote in federal elections. The Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act seeks to amend the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) by mandating documentary proof of U.S. citizenship for voter registration in federal elections.

The bill outlines several key measures:

  • State election officials must verify citizenship before providing voter registration forms.
  • Individuals must provide proof of citizenship to register to vote in federal elections.
  • States can accept various documents to make it easier for citizens to register.
  • States will have access to federal agency databases to remove non-citizens from voter rolls.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is directed to determine whether to initiate removal proceedings if a non-citizen is identified as registered to vote.
  • DHS must notify state election officials when individuals are naturalized to ensure they can exercise their voting rights.

Supporters, including Musk, argue that these measures are necessary to protect the integrity of U.S. elections by preventing non-citizens from voting. Critics of the bill claim it could disenfranchise eligible voters by imposing additional hurdles to the registration process.

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