The Senate Committee Passes Three Bills to Protect Elections from AI Months Before Election Day - Latest Global News

The Senate Committee Passes Three Bills to Protect Elections from AI Months Before Election Day

The Senate Rules Committee passed three bills aimed at protecting elections from artificial intelligence deception just months before Election Day. To become law, the bills would still need to pass the House and full Senate, creating a time crunch for rules on election-related deepfakes to take effect before polls open across the country in November.

The three election bills passed by the Senate committee on Wednesday represent a first step at the federal level to take action on AI in elections. Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who is sponsoring the bills, noted that states have already made progress on the issue for state elections. For example, 14 states have adopted some form of AI content labeling, according to Klobuchar.

The measure with the most support in committee, the Preparing Election Administrators for AI Act, which passed 11-0, would direct the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to work with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). , to prepare a report for election offices on relevant risks of AI for disinformation, cybersecurity and election administration. It also included an amendment calling for a report on how AI ultimately impacts the 2024 elections.

The other two bills, the Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act and the AI ​​Transparency in Elections Act, passed the committee by a vote of 9-2. The first would ban AI deepfakes of federal candidates used in certain circumstances to raise funds or influence an election and is co-sponsored by Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Susan Collins (R-ME). The second initiative, co-sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), would enforce a disclaimer for political ads created or modified substantially by AI (this would not apply to things like color editing or resizing, for example). While the Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act cannot regulate satire, Klobuchar noted that the AI ​​Transparency in Elections Act would at least inform voters when satirical ads are AI-generated.

“I’m worried in many ways that we may be less protected in 2024 than we were in 2020.”

Ranking Member Deb Fischer (R-NE), who opposed the latter two bills, said they were “too inclusive and they sweep in previously unregulated speech that goes beyond deepfakes.” Fischer said the Protecting Elections from Fraudulent AI Act would restrict unpaid political speech, adding that “there is no precedent for this restriction in the 50-year history of our federal campaign finance laws.” Fischer also said that state legislatures are a more appropriate place for this type of election regulation than the federal government.

But key Democrats on the committee demanded action. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) said he was “fearful in many ways that we may be less protected in 2024 than we were in 2020.” He said that was because “our adversaries “What is clear is that interfering in our elections is cheap and relatively easy,” and that Americans “these days are more willing to believe certain outrageous theories.” To make matters worse, “AI is changing the entire way a bad actor… can intervene using these tools.”

When deepfakes are everywhere and no one believes the election results, our democracy is sad

“If there are deepfakes everywhere and no one believes the election results, then our democracy is sad,” Schumer said during the awards ceremony. “I hope my colleagues think about the consequences of doing nothing.”

At a press conference on the AI ​​roadmap after the markup, Schumer noted the committee’s passage and said they “would like to get this done in time for the election.”

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