A Closer Look at the Confidentiality of Your ChatGPT Conversations
In an era where privacy concerns take center stage, understanding the depth of confidentiality in your ChatGPT conversations becomes imperative. Launched by OpenAI in late 2022, ChatGPT has become a global phenomenon, catering to millions of users. But how private are your ChatGPT interactions, and should you be mindful of how they are stored?
Data Stored by ChatGPT
When you register for a ChatGPT account with OpenAI, your user email is conventionally stored, following the standard practice of most online platforms. Beyond your email, OpenAI records additional information, including your IP address, browser and device data, as well as network information. For ChatGPT Plus subscribers, payment information is also securely stored. While aligning with industry norms, this meticulous data collection may raise concerns for individuals prioritizing privacy.
Retention of ChatGPT Conversations
Per OpenAI’s Data Controls FAQ, new conversations, including uploaded images, are retained for 30 days unless flagged for suspicion or guideline violation. This policy applies to all ChatGPT conversations that don’t raise concerns. Even seemingly ordinary conversations may be accessed by OpenAI for developmental purposes, as highlighted in another OpenAI FAQ.
Usage for System Improvement
OpenAI explicitly states that ChatGPT conversations are instrumental in “improving” its systems. Regardless of whether your conversations violate guidelines, OpenAI may access and utilize them to enhance ChatGPT’s capabilities. Importantly, OpenAI assures users that these conversations are not sold to third parties, used for marketing, or employed to build user profiles.
Opting Out and Deleting History
Users concerned about their conversations being used for ChatGPT training can opt out by toggling the “disable training” feature in their account settings. Additionally, users have the option to delete their chat history. However, even if conversations are promptly deleted, OpenAI retains them for 30 days unless flagged. The deletion process involves clicking on the conversation in the left-hand bar, locating the trash icon, and confirming deletion.
For mobile users, the process varies slightly. On a smartphone browser, tapping on the two horizontal lines, selecting the desired chat, and clicking on the three dots enables chat deletion. On the iPhone ChatGPT app, the “Delete” option facilitates chat removal, while clearing entire chat history is possible through Settings > Data Controls > Clear Chat History.
Visibility of ChatGPT Conversations
While OpenAI emphasizes that user conversations are not utilized for monetary purposes, it retains the ability to review and use chat history to identify abusive behavior and enhance AI training. Users may not prevent the temporary storage of their data, but the option to delete chats and opt out of training provides a level of control.