At a glance.
- OpenAI CEO appears before Congress.
- Leading US voting system maker supports SECURE IT Act.
- Experts weigh in on the future of Section 702.
- DHS urges agencies to restrict access to classified data.
OpenAI CEO appears before Congress.
As the debate surrounding regulation of artificial intelligence continues, Sam Altman, chief executive at ChatGPT maker OpenAI, testified before US Congress on Tuesday. As the Washington Post notes, the hearing was just one stop on Altman’s international tour to talk to lawmakers about the company’s hugely popular chatbot in an effort to quell fears about the potential dangers of AI. Lawmakers in the hearing focused less on criticizing OpenAI’s practices and more on seeking expertise on how best to regulate AI tech. In addition to concerns about the copious amount of data used to fuel machine learning models and the possible spread of misinformation, lawmakers expressed worries about corporate consolidation and a lack of investment in AI products for non-English speakers. In his testimony, Altman recommended a three-point plan for AI regulation: create a new government agency authorized to issue (and revoke) licenses for large AI models, establish a set of safety standards for AI models, and require independent audits to determine whether AI models are meeting those standards. Missing from his plan was a call for more transparency from AI companies regarding their training data, which many lawmakers and experts have been pushing for.
Leading US voting system maker supports SECURE IT Act.
With the US presidential elections swiftly approaching, lawmakers are focused on ensuring that voting machines are secure and parties interested in meddling with the results are kept at bay. As we discussed earlier this week, two US senators have introduced the SECURE IT Act, which would require the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to mandate that voting systems applying for certification undergo penetration testing. GlobeNewswire reports that Election Systems & Software (ES&S), the nation’s leading voting systems manufacturer, has issued a statement saying it is in support of the bill. ES&S President and CEO Tom Burt said in Congressional testimony in 2020, “This testing must become mandatory for elections providers and must be managed at the federal level with standards and testing methods that are applied evenly and diligently to equipment from all providers.”
Experts weigh in on the future of Section 702.
As we’ve previously discussed, Section 702 of the US’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which gives federal spy agencies the authority to conduct warrantless surveillance of digital correspondence of overseas targets, is due to expire at the end of the year, and lawmakers have been debating for months whether it should be reinstated. The Washington Post shares the results of a survey asking cyber experts for their views on the controversial measure, and the majority (64%) say that Section 702 needs to be modified before being renewed. Just 16% said the measure should be scrapped entirely, largely because they feel it poses a threat to privacy. One such opponent, Kendra Albert, a clinical instructor at the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard Law School, stated, “Section 702 infringes upon the civil liberties of Americans and has been substantially abused for little benefit. If surveillance oversight is to mean anything, Congress should not reauthorize it.” Those who said 702 should be reupped as-is (about 20% of respondents) agree with the Biden administration that the powerful tool has been an essential tool in fighting threats from overseas. Jay Kaplan, chief executive and co-founder of Synack and a former National Security Agency analyst, wrote, “There will always be a tug of war between privacy and security, The reality is we haven’t suffered a major terrorist attack domestically in many years because 9/11-era policies like Section 702 are working.” The 645 who say 702 should be revised before renewal are calling for various changes to prevent its abuse. Jamie Winterton, director of strategy for Arizona State University’s global security initiative, said that the powers violate the Fourth Amendment, explaining, “Agents should at least be required to have a warrant before they can access Americans’ private communications.”
DHS urges agencies to restrict access to classified data.
The US Department of Homeland Security has issued a memo to its agencies directing them to review access to classified information. As CNN explains, the memo, which states that sensitive info should not be shared with personnel who do not need it to complete their duties, is likely in response to the leak of highly sensitive Pentagon documents that was discovered earlier this year. DHS is directing agencies to “review and validate” the number of personnel who require access to Classified National Security Information, “with particular attention given to those having access to Sensitive Compartmented information,” in other words, employees, contractors, task force offices, and state, local, tribal, and private sector partners. Agencies have been given until the end of June to complete this task. In April DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told reporters, “We issued a reminder of the obligations that guide our employees with respect to the handling of classified information” and that he had directed a review of “architecture that we have for providing individuals with clearances.”