WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation to secure and protect information handled by federal contractors using artificial intelligence (AI) technology, such as biometric data from facial recognition scans. The bill would require the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to establish and consult with an Artificial Intelligence Hygiene Working Group to ensure that government contractors are securing and using data collected by AI technologies to protect national security and in a way that ensures the privacy and rights of all Americans.
“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,” said Senator Peters. “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.”
“It is important that the federal government ensure that its AI systems are trustworthy and safe,” said Senator Portman. “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.”
While there are clear benefits to using AI, experts remain concerned that if used improperly, this technology could harm Americans and compromise national security. Recent reports have shown that AI technology companies that contract with federal law enforcement agencies have misused data and information they have collected. In other instances, federal agencies have not taken the necessary steps to ensure contractors appropriately handle information collected by AI technologies such as facial recognition – leading to Americans’ information being compromised.
The Government Ownership and Oversight of Data in Artificial Intelligence (GOOD AI) Act requires the Director of the OMB to establish and consult with an Artificial Intelligence Hygiene Working Group made up of experts from across the federal government. The Working Group would be tasked with developing and implementing solutions that ensure government contracts for AI services require the data and systems to be secure, safeguard American’s civil rights and liberties, and make clear that the federal government is the ultimate owner of the collected information, so that it cannot be appropriated by contractors or publicly posted, sold, or misused by organizations in a way that compromises the privacy of Americans.
The legislation builds on Peters and Portman’s efforts to ensure AI is used safely and ethically. The senators’ bipartisan legislation to help federal employees responsible for purchasing these technologies better understand the risks and benefits they pose to the American people has passed out of committee. A Portman-Peters provision to ensure that the use of AI across the federal government is effective, ethical, and accountable by providing resources and guidance to federal agencies was signed into law as a part of last year’s government funding bill.