At a glance.
- Two US senators introduce legislative framework for AI.
- The pros and cons of the NSA and US Cyber Command’s shared leadership structure.
Two US senators introduce legislative framework for AI.
As lawmakers the world over struggle over how to regulate the ever-advancing world of artificial intelligence, a pair of US senators have proposed a legislative framework for creating future bills about AI. Democrat Richard Blumenthal and Republican Josh Hawley recommend that a government license be required for developers of face recognition tech and other AI applications deemed “high risk.” Obtaining such a license would require tech firms to conduct harmness testing for their AI models, allow for independent auditing of their products, and be transparent about the training data used to develop their tech. As well, those harmed by AI products would need to have a method for bringing developers to court.
AI ethics expert Anna Lenhart expressed her support for the senators’ legislative strategy, stating, “It's really refreshing to see them take this on and not wait for a series of insight forums or a commission that's going to spend two years and talk to a bunch of experts to essentially create this same list.” However, she feels it could be challenging to have one legislative body with the technical and legal know-how to oversee licensing for the broad range of potential AI applications.
Wired notes that Blumenthal and Hawley are scheduled to oversee a Senate subcommittee hearing next week focused on how to hold businesses and governments responsible for AI tech that causes harm or infringes on users’ rights. As well, Senator Chuck Schumer is gathering tech leaders with an interest in AI to a series of discussions focused on regulation. Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, the CEOs of tech giants like Google and Microsoft, researchers, and human rights experts make up the list of attendees. The White House had already released a voluntary AI risk-management framework and nonbinding AI bill of rights, but Hawley and Blumenthal’s strategy could portend a stricter approach to reigning in the potential powers of AI.
The pros and cons of the NSA and US Cyber Command’s shared leadership structure.
Ever since its creation in 2010, US Cyber Command (Cybercom) has been led by the same person who heads up the National Security Agency (NSA). This was at first considered a temporary solution, allowing CyberCom to benefit from NSA already established resources and personnel. However, as this dual-hat arrangement has endured for more than a decade, some parties have questioned whether this leadership structure is the most beneficial. Security Intelligence offers a look at both sides of the debate. On one hand, members of CyberCom and NSA, as well as other prominent officials say the dual-role has allowed for more efficient decision-making, especially advantageous in a cyber landscape where threats need to be swiftly addressed.
Senator Mike Rounds, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Cybersecurity said that without the arrangement, “You would have two separate bureaucracies who would clash on a daily basis about the use of the tools, about the coordination of efforts, about the protection of their own silos.” And Army General Paul Nakasone, who has held the position of head of Cybercom and NSA since 2018, has aso extolled the virtues of the arrangement, stating that “protecting the national security of the United States in cyberspace would be more costly and less decisive with two separate organizations under two separate leaders.”
But some insiders argue having one leader of both institutions gives one individual too much power, especially as Cybercom gains more authority. NSA is also an intelligence agency, and some experts worry Cybercom’s connection could expose NSA activities that are meant to remain unknown to the adversary. More broadly, and more seriously, there is always some tension between an intelligence organization (whose mission is to collect and analyze) and an operational organization (whose mission is to bring about significant effects).
In the short-term, it’s unlikely any major changes will be enacted. Congress has legislated that certain metrics must be met before a split could occur, and while Cybercom has made some progress in this direction, these metrics have yet to be achieved. Meanwhile, General Nakasone recently announced he plans to step down this year, and US Air Force Lieutenant General Timothy Haugh has been nominated to take his place, but a Senate stalemate means no military appointments will be made any time soon.