Thought Leadership  •  October 10, 2023

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Honeypot Field to Catch Bots
Honeypot Field to Catch Bots

How AI Improves PII Compliance & Data Privacy

Personally identifiable information (PII) is used by companies every day to track trends and respond to customer needs. PII is extremely valuable, which is why so many hackers attempt to gain access. Businesses are turning to artificial intelligence and data protection efforts to keep financial data and other types of PII from falling into the wrong hands. Discover the ways artificial intelligence can protect PII and assist with data compliance measures mandated by laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

Ways AI-Powered Systems Improve Data Privacy & PII Compliance

If a company fails to protect PII data supplied by its customers, there are financial and reputational costs. Customers will lose faith in the company and may take their business to a competitor. For publicly traded companies, this can cause a drop in share prices. Regulators will assess fines or penalties, compounding the financial woes.

Companies are well aware of the costs of failing to comply with these regulations. But they may not know all the ways to keep financial data safe with AI. With an understanding of the penalties companies can face for a data breach, let's examine PII compliance using artificial intelligence and data privacy measures:

  • Secure PII Extraction: Secure PII extraction refers to the process of identifying and extracting PII using AI. For example, an AI can search for confidential information, such as a bank account and routing number, and extract it. Because the AI shortens the distance from information input to secure server storage, it enhances data privacy.
  • Information Delivery Matching: Information delivery matching makes sure that the right recipient receives a confidential piece of information. Human error leads to mix-ups all the time, such as tax documents sent to the wrong recipient. Information delivery matching relies on optical character recognition (OCR) to reduce human handling and the potential for human error.
  • Information Retrieval: Information retrieval features use OCR to automate certain parts of the PII data collection process. This not only streamlines information retrieval, but also it adds guardrails to ensure that non-relevant data contained on a document is not captured, which could constitute a breach of GDPR or CCPA.
  • Data Availability: AI can assist with the management and compliance storage of legacy data, including types of unstructured data that is difficult to search through. This helps companies move toward faster compliance with new privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA.

Risks of Generative AI & Compliance

No discussion of AI and data privacy would be complete without a mention of the popular ChatGPT tool. ChatGPT and similar generative AI tools have received flack for seeming to flout GDPR requirements. When it comes to ChatGPT data protection, what do companies need to know?

Before turning to ChatGPT data protection, let's review the issues.

GPT-3, the version of ChatGPT released in 2020, was trained using information scraped from Reddit and other popular webpages.

Italy's government sought to prevent ChatGPT's maker, OpenAI, from using Italians' private information to train its conversational AI. While the matter is currently pending, other European nations have demonstrated interest in blocking the AI tool over its non-compliance with privacy laws.

Non-compliance with GDPR could come with fines of up to $20 million euro for OpenAI, the parent company.

It isn't just ChatGPT that is at risk of non-compliance. AI chatbots, such as those used in customer service applications in the financial industry, collect vast amounts of personal information.

A typical user might provide a chatbot with name, address, account number, email address and other pieces of PII.

This data might be needed to satisfy the user request and, thus, be legitimate. However, chatbots also use harvested data to train the AI. Continually training an AI chatbot helps the tool better understand and solve a user's need. But this may not be considered a legitimate use from a data privacy perspective.

The pushback against ChatGPT should be a warning sign to companies regarding AI chatbot usage, even in conventional customer service applications. Companies that use AI chatting assistants must implement the programs in a manner that adheres to compliance recommendations, per CCPA, GDPR and similar laws.

To date, there have only been a few instances of companies being ordered to delete algorithms and models developed from data they did not have consumer permission to use. There is reason to believe, however, these legal challenges may become more common in the future. The technology is still so new that many of the implications regarding data privacy remain to be seen.

What is clear is that PII is increasingly important, and the costs associated with CCPA & GDPR compliance issues are clear. Companies can keep their PII safe with the help from AI, but other AI applications can expose them to unwanted risks and potential financial penalties.