Google’s Bard chatbot has been widely available in 180 countries, but not all regions have received access to it. Users from Russia, Belarus, Canada, and, surprisingly, all the countries of the European Union (EU) have to resort to VPN services or special browser extensions to use Bard’s capabilities. The same issue has affected other Google services in China.
While Bard only supported English at first, Japanese and Korean have been added, and support for another 40 languages will be organized in the near future, including Russian. However, Russia is still not on the list of that have gained access to it.
Google’s fears are quite justified, given that in Italy, a competitor’s chatbot, OpenAI’s ChatGPT, faced restrictions on its activities due to concerns about privacy and intellectual property rights. Although the use of the bot was eventually permitted, the company must still adhere to a number of requirements to avoid penalties.
The EU has also been working on new rules to punish AI copyright infringement, according to Reuters. The risk of illegal use of someone else’s intellectual property obtained in the process of learning is not the only concern. The privacy of user data is also taken into account.
While Google has never announced an EU exclusion anywhere, the EU restrictions appear to be due to the strict European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other local laws. Google has already announced that it will label AI-generated content to play it safe and avoid receiving multimillion-dollar fines in the region.
While the chatbot is still expanding its language support, it may take some time before users from restricted regions can access Bard’s capabilities on equal terms.