A quartet of regional Canadian authorities joined a broader government probe into OpenAI, as the nation became the latest to question the privacy and ethical credentials of the company’s AI-powered ChatGPT product.

In a statement, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) noted the privacy bodies will investigate OpenAI’s collection and use of personal data.

They joined a probe opened in April following a complaint alleging the company gathered and distributed users’ data without consent.

The OPC stated the combined expertise of the regional authorities will boost the efficiency and effectiveness of the investigation.

Privacy Commissioner Philippe Dufresne cited growing global concern and scrutiny around AI “and its effects on privacy”.

He added it is essential for regulators to “keep up with, and stay ahead of, fast-moving technological advances” to ensure Canadians’ “fundamental privacy rights” are protected.

The investigation is exploring whether OpenAI has obtained the necessary consents to employ personal user data in ChatGPT; compliance with transparency requirements; and if data collected is used for purposes a typical user “would consider appropriate, reasonable or legitimate”.

Various nations have recently expressed concerns over ChatGPT, part of broader concern over the impact of generative AI.