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HomeCyberSecurityOpenAI Drops ChatGPT Access for Users in China, Russia, Iran

OpenAI Drops ChatGPT Access for Users in China, Russia, Iran

Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
Cyberwarfare / Nation-State Attacks
Fraud Management & Cybercrime

Users of All OpenAI Services in Unsupported Countries Will Lose Access by July 9

OpenAI Drops ChatGPT Access for Users in China, Russia, Iran
Image: Shutterstock

OpenAI appears to be removing access to its services for users in China, Russia and Iran in the next two weeks. The company did not explain its decision, but it has disrupted influence campaigns and cybercrime operations based in those countries, and the U.S. government is restricting access to U.S.-manufactured AI technology.

See Also: Safeguarding Election Integrity in the Digital Age

In an email attributed to OpenAI, a post on the ChatGPT maker’s community forum appears to inform users in those countries that their access will be cut off as of July 9.

“Our data shows that your organization has API traffic from a region that OpenAI does not currently support,” the company reportedly said in the email, adding that it would take undisclosed additional measures to block access.

The impact of OpenAI’s action on American companies using its services in unsupported countries is unknown. Users of cloud company Vercel said they received a similar email when accessing OpenAI’s service through its edge network. Although Vercel’s edge network has a region in Hong Kong, the company is based in San Francisco.

OpenAI did not respond to a request for comment by Information Security Media Group.

Users can access OpenAI services globally – except for China, Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia – according to a list of supported countries on the app. It is unclear when this list was last amended.

At least three of those countries were on the OpenAI’s radar just last month, as the company disrupted covert influence operations attempting to use its services to manipulate public opinion and elections. The move followed a similar action in February, when OpenAI shut down accounts from China, Iran and Russia to stop those countries from generating phishing emails and malicious software scripts using ChatGPT and from researching ways to evade malware detection.

Tensions between the U.S. and China continue to run high. Washington is sanctioning and taxing products to curb Beijing’s rise in the AI industry. In a recent move, the Biden administration placed restrictions on the export of advanced AI chips to China. The Xi Jinping-led country has reportedly been looking to domestic resources to cut its reliance on foreign products, although the country has not demonstrated the quality and effectiveness of the technology.

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