Microsoft restricts employee access to OpenAI’s ChatGPT | Windows

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks during the OpenAI DevDay event on November 06, 2023 in San Francisco, California. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman delivered the keynote address at the first ever Open AI DevDay conference.

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Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in OpenAI. But for a brief time on Thursday, employees of the software company weren’t allowed to use the startup’s most famous product, ChatGPT, CNBC has learned.

“Due to security and data concerns a number of AI tools are no longer available for employees to use,” Microsoft said in an update on an internal website. CNBC also viewed a screenshot that showed that ChatGPT couldn’t be accessed on corporate devices.

Microsoft and OpenAI representatives didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

“While it is true that Microsoft has invested in OpenAI, and that ChatGPT has built-in safeguards to prevent improper use, the website is nevertheless a third-party external service,” Microsoft said. “That means you must exercise caution using it due to risks of privacy and security. This goes for any other external AI services, such as Midjourney or Replika, as well.”

The company initially said it was banning ChatGPT and design software Canva, but later removed a line in the advisory that included those products. After initial publication of this story, Microsoft reinstated access to ChatGPT.

In a statement to CNBC, Microsoft said the ChatGPT temporary blockage was a mistake resulting from a test of systems for large language models.

“We were testing endpoint control systems for LLMs and inadvertently turned them on for all employees,” a spokesperson said. “We restored service shortly after we identified our error. As we have said previously, we encourage employees and customers to use services like Bing Chat Enterprise and ChatGPT Enterprise that come with greater levels of privacy and security protections.”

Many large companies have restricted use of ChatGPT, often to prevent the sharing…

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