New Biden Executive Order Aims to Address AI Security, Privacy Risks

The new executive order acknowledged AI’s positive potential while also warning that “irresponsible use could exacerbate societal harms.”
Published: November 3, 2023

On Monday, President Joe Biden released an executive order laying the groundwork to create standards and rules governing artificial intelligence (AI).

“Specifically, [the U.S. Artificial Intelligence Safety Institute (USAISI)] will facilitate the development of standards for safety, security, and testing of AI models, develop standards for authenticating AI-generated content, and provide testing environments for researchers to evaluate emerging AI risks and address known impacts,” the Biden administration said in a statement.

Biden’s executive order acknowledged the technology’s positive potential while also warning that “irresponsible use could exacerbate societal harms such as fraud, discrimination, bias, and disinformation; displace and disempower workers; stifle competition; and pose risks to national security.”

Some Highlight’s of Biden’s AI Executive Order

Some of USAISI’s and the Department of Commerce’s responsibilities outlined in the order include:

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  • Developing “robust, reliable, repeatable, and standardized evaluations of AI systems, as well as policies, institutions, and, as appropriate, other mechanisms to test, understand, and mitigate risks from these systems before they are put to use.”
  • Addressing AI’s most pressing security risks “— including with respect to biotechnology, cybersecurity, critical infrastructure, and other national security dangers — while navigating AI’s opacity and complexity.”
  • Testing, evaluating, and monitoring post-deployment performance to prevent misuse or dangerous modifications.
  • Developing content labeling “so that Americans are able to determine when content is generated using AI and when it is not.”
  • Training on the use of the technology.
  • Developing and attracting talent in the development and use of AI.
  • Deploying the technology in a way that it supports American workers.
  • Developing policies that advance equity and civil rights.
  • Protecting consumers: “The Federal Government will enforce existing consumer protection laws and principles and enact appropriate safeguards against fraud, unintended bias, discrimination, infringements on privacy, and other harms from AI.  Such protections are especially important in critical fields like healthcare, financial services, education, housing, law, and transportation, where mistakes by or misuse of AI could harm patients, cost consumers or small businesses, or jeopardize safety or rights.”
  • Protecting Americans’ privacy: “Agencies shall use available policy and technical tools, including privacy-enhancing technologies where appropriate, to protect privacy and to combat the broader legal and societal risks — including the chilling of First Amendment rights — that result from the improper collection and use of people’s data.”
  • Managing the federal government’s deployment of the technology so it is used responsibly.

Security Industry Weighs In

Meanwhile, the Security Industry Association (SIA) is “now reviewing the draft White House executive order on artificial intelligence (AI),” according to an association announcement, adding that “the order will be discussed with SIA’s AI Advisory Board and Identity and Biometric Technology Advisory Board.”

SIA will provide “a full analysis…soon, reflecting SIA member input,” the announcement says.

Senators Introduce Legislation

The move comes as governments around the world struggle to address AI’s impact. Biden’s order also reveals the executive branch’s limited authority over private tech companies and could create tensions in the technology sector, reports Politico.

Three days after Biden issued his order, Senate Intelligence Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) introduced a bill that would give it more teeth, reports Politico. If passed, the new law would have more lasting power than an executive order because executive orders can be rescinded by future presidents.

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