April 12th, 2023Ground-breaking AI defamation case
Words: Donna Kelly
Gordon Legal has launched a ground-breaking defamation claim against
OpenAI’s ChatGPT on behalf of Hepburn Shire Council Mayor, Cr Brian Hood.
Gordon Legal alleges Cr Hood’s reputation was defamed by the ChatGPT AI,
which incorrectly identified him as an individual who faced charges related to a
foreign bribery scandal, rather than his actual role as the whistle-blower in the case.
Cr Hood previously worked for Note Printing Australia – a Reserve Bank of
Australia subsidiary – in the early 2000s, when he alerted authorities to officers of
NPA and another subsidiary, Securency, paying bribes to overseas agencies to win
contracts to print banknotes.
Cr Hood (pictured above) was not charged with any offences. Rather, he alerted the authorities to
the wrongdoing and was praised for his bravery in coming forward.
ChatGPT made several false statements when asked about Mr Hood’s
involvement in the Reserve Bank of Australia’s foreign bribery case. They included
that Cr Hood was accused of bribing officials in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam
between 1999 and 2005 and that he was sentenced to 30 months in prison after
pleading guilty to two counts of false accounting under the Corporations Act.
All of these statements are false. And Gordon Legal filed a Concerns Notice to
OpenAI on March 21 detailing the inaccuracy and demanding a rectification.
Cr Hood told The Local that one key objective with the claim was letting people
know that ChatGPT was not as secure or accurate as many believed.
“There is not much regulation or control around it. And the information coming
out of it has to be reliable. The really odd thing is that you can put in an enquiry and
it spits out five or six paragraphs and some are absolutely accurate, with names, times
and places all spot on, but then there are others which are false, complete garbage.
“That suggests it is going to certain sites to get the real information but where are
the garbage paragraphs coming from? Is it creating them itself? There is nowhere on
any site that suggests the sort of things I have been alleged to have done, nothing on
the record anywhere, so where is that coming from?
“It is a really weird mixture of fact and fiction and the average punter won’t know
which paragraph is right and which is wrong. It needs to be nipped in the bud. When
it is spitting out stuff that affects people’s reputations, or causes harm or doubt, that
is just wrong. You put garbage out there and some people will believe it.”