At a glance.
- US government on AI regulation.
- US lawmakers focus on protecting kids on the net.
US government on AI regulation.
Artificial intelligence has been a hot topic at this week’s RSA Conference. While in attendance yesterday, executive assistant director for cybersecurity at the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Erick Goldstein acknowledged that while AI could be used to improve cybersecurity, in the wrong hands it could also become a dangerous tool for cybercriminals. “Think about how AI plays games like Go and chess in a fundamentally inhuman way. Well, what does an AI red team or adversarial AI look like when it tries to execute an intrusion in ways the defenders never thought of before?” The Wall Street Journal notes that companies like Google, SentinelOne, and SecurityScorecard are designing cybersecurity products that integrate AI models, but Rob Joyce, director of the National Security Agency’s cybersecurity directorate, pointed out that this advanced tech makes these companies attractive targets for hackers looking to steal intellectual property. “There are intellectual property improvements in the AI field that will be worth targeting, and I think that’s what companies need to worry about protecting,” Joyce said.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also made regulation of AI a focus, and in a memo distributed last week, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas called for the establishment of an Artificial Intelligence Task Force. The Federal News Network explains that the group would be co-led by Dimitri Kusnezov, under secretary for science and technology, and Eric Hysen, DHS’ chief information officer, and would be just one facet of a multi-dimensional plan for staying ahead of rapid developments in the machine-learning landscape. Mayorkas wrote, “DHS must address the many ways in which artificial intelligence (AI), including revolutionary advances in generative Al, will drastically alter the threat landscape and augment the arsenal of tools we possess to succeed in the face of the threats. We must also ensure that our use of Al is rigorously tested to avoid bias and disparate impact, and is clearly explainable to the people we serve.”
US lawmakers focus on protecting kids on the net.
A legislative proposal was introduced in the US Senate yesterday called the Protecting Kids on Social Media Act, a bipartisan measure that would restrict children under the age of thirteen from creating accounts on social media platforms. Users between thirteen and seventeen would need parental consent. As well, the law would limit the platforms’ tactics for attracting minors under seventeen, and the Department of Commerce would oversee a government-run program to verify user ages. As Wired notes, the measure would give the government unprecedented control over what minors do on the net, and some skeptics liken the proposal to Tipper Gore’s attempts to regulate what music people could listen to in the ‘80s.
The measure’s sponsors, of course, disagree with that analogy. Connecticut Democrat Senator Chris Murphy stated, “Let’s be clear, this bill is completely content neutral. All it says is that you cannot build a purposefully addictive program that leads especially vulnerable children down deep, deep dark rabbit holes.” Senator Katie Britt, an Alabama Republican and parent, added, “Bringing the issues that we talk about as parents in the home, with our friends, we watch unfold before us in our schools and our communities, that's what we're here to do, is to bring that voice, the voice of parents. Lead sponsor Brian Schatz says social media companies' current efforts to keep kids off their platforms are not working. “There’s no free speech right to be jammed with an algorithm that makes you upset, and these algorithms are making us increasingly polarized and disparaging and depressed and angry at each other.” Schatz stated. “And it’s bad enough that it’s happening to all of us adults, the least we can do is protect our kids.”
The new measure isn’t the only one focused on children on the internet. Last week two bipartisan senators reintroduced the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act (EARN IT) Act, which would remove Section 230 protections for sites that publish online child sexual exploitation content, and the Kids' Online Safety Act, or KOSA, aims to update current statutes meant to protect children’s online activities.