OTTAWA - The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has launched an investigation into the company behind ChatGPT, an explosively popular artificial intelligence-powered chatbot.

The office says it is initiating the investigation into U.S.-based company OpenAI because it received a complaint alleging “the collection, use and disclosure of personal information without consent.”

Privacy commissioner Philippe Dufresne says in a statement today that artificial intelligence and its effects on privacy are a top priority, and his office must stay ahead of “fast-moving technological advances.”

Dufresne's office says it won't release further details at this time, but its mandate is to publicly report on the results of investigations after they conclude.

ChatGPT, launched last November, uses written information already available on the internet to provide detailed, conversational responses to queries posed by users - and has been exploited to spit out everything from computer code to screenplays.

Critics have raised concerns about plagiarism, and last week, Italy's own privacy watchdog ordered a ban while it investigates a suspected breach of European data rules.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 4, 2023.