A few days after the Italian data protection authority suspended the use of ChatGPT, VPN, downloads in the country increased by 400%.
The agency has ordered OpenAI to stop using ChatGPT to collect personal data unlawfully, which is the primary reason that led to the ban. VPN searches became increasingly popular among Italians as they searched for ways to circumvent ChatGPT service restrictions.
Since the ban was announced, OpenAI has blocked access to its ChatGPT platform in Italy. However, it seems Italians aren’t ready to stop using the AI system anytime soon after a significant surge in VPN downloads.
Before the ChatGPT ban, Italians installed one of the top 10 VPN apps about 42 times on average daily, according to Atlas VPN. After the chatbot was banned in Italy, VPN downloads substantially increased to 121%, which is over 9,300 downloads.
And then on April 1st, VPN downloads from Italy reached 404% and the next day, the overall number of VPN downloads was 359%. It was a 2-day decrease in downloads as on April 3rd, the number of VPN downloads went down to 270%.
Although Italians who are interested in using the chatbot can still bypass the ban by using a VPN to change their IP address, ChatGPT accounts that were registered in Italy may have become void.
Using a VPN to access the AI platform may require users to create a new account using a non-Italian IP address.
In the past, we’ve observed comparable patterns in different nations where governments have enforced prohibitions or constraints on different internet sites in recent times, such as when the Nigerian government banned the use of Twitter, forcing Nigerians to rely on VPN use to access the platform.