New Senate bill would take steps to protect AI-collected data

New Senate bill would take steps to protect AI-collected data
© Greg Nash

A new bipartisan Senate bill introduced Thursday is aiming to secure data collected by artificial intelligence technologies, such as facial recognition technologies, as these types of technologies continue to grow in use. 

The GOOD AI Act would require the Office of Management and Budget to establish and consult with an AI working group in ensuring that all federal contractors are taking adequate steps to secure data obtained through AI, and that the data is being used to protect national security while not compromising privacy. 

The AI working group would be made up of experts from across the federal government, and ensure that the data collected by federal contractors is not abused or sold in any way. 

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The legislation has strong bipartisan backing, being sponsored by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Gary PetersGary PetersFive ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — US mulls Afghan evacuees' future Senators look to defense bill to move cybersecurity measures MORE (D-Mich.) and ranking member Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP ramps up attacks on SALT deduction provision Senate race in Ohio poses crucial test for Democrats Ohio Senate candidate unveils ad comparing Biden to Carter MORE (R-Ohio).

“While artificial intelligence applications have the potential to strengthen our national security, we must ensure data collected by this technology is secure, used appropriately, and does not compromise the privacy and rights of Americans,” Peters said in a statement Thursday. 

“This bipartisan bill will help ensure that federal contractors are using artificial intelligence properly and for the benefit of the country – and that the information collected through these technologies is not misused,” he added. 

Portman also underscored the need to secure data collected from AI systems. 

“It is important that the federal government ensure that its AI systems are trustworthy and safe,” Portman said in a separate statement. “The bipartisan GOOD AI Act helps strengthen the accountability and security of federal AI systems and I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this common-sense legislation.”

Peters and Portman were among the sponsors of a previous measure signed into law in December as part of the annual appropriations package that provided more resources and guidance to federal agencies on AI technologies and data collected. 

Concerns around AI technologies have built in recent years, with two of the White House's top science officials calling for an AI “Bill of Rights” to ensure that these emerging technologies adhere to democratic principles and address privacy and security risks.