In this update, we detail the key legislative updates in the second quarter of 2020 related to artificial intelligence (“AI”), the Internet of Things (“IoT”), cybersecurity as it relates to AI and IoT, and connected and automated vehicles (“CAVs”). The volume of legislation on these topics has slowed but not ceased, as lawmakers increasingly focus on the pandemic and the upcoming national election. As Congress processes Appropriations bills, it continues to look to support and fund these technologies. We will continue to update you on meaningful developments between these quarterly updates across our blogs.
Continue Reading U.S. AI, IoT, and CAV Legislative Update – Second Quarter 2020

On May 28, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) hosted a meeting of the G7 Science & Technology (S&T) Ministers to collaborate on COVID-19 response and recovery.  The G7 S&T Ministers emerged from the meeting with a declaration, in which they expressed their intent to:

  • Enhance cooperation on shared COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created both speed bumps and accelerants for connected and automated vehicle (“CAV”) developments in the United States.  In our Quarterly Update earlier this month, we covered recent legislative and regulatory activity around CAVs, both specifically targeted efforts and those impacting AI and IoT technologies generally.  Although some CAV legislative efforts have been sidelined due to the government’s focus on COVID-19, the pandemic is incentivizing policymakers at the federal and state levels to support CAV-related initiatives.

Continue Reading IoT Update: COVID-19 Drives Forward Connected and Automated Vehicle Legislative and Regulatory Efforts

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has played an important role in battling COVID-19 since the initial outbreak: HealthMap – an AI tool from Boston Children’s Hospital that scans news reports, social media, and other data for signs of disease outbreaks – first sounded the international alarm after picking up reports of an emerging virus in Wuhan, China.

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) granted GE Healthcare (“GEHC”) a waiver of its equipment authorization rules to allow for the importation, marketing, and operation of certain medical devices that have yet to receive authorization under applicable FCC requirements.  The GEHC devices at issue include bedside and wearable patient monitors; telemetry transmitters; antenna infrastructure; wireless sensors; diagnostic testing ECG analysis systems; mobile radiology equipment; and portable X-rays.

The FCC granted the waiver due to the “unprecedented strain” that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on the U.S. healthcare system.  In doing so, the FCC recognized that GEHC now has to rely on alternative component suppliers to maintain a robust supply chain of devices, and that doing so has and will continue to require GEHC to pursue and secure new or modified equipment authorizations under the FCC’s rules.  By waiving these rules for a temporary period,  subject to certain conditions, the FCC enabled GEHC to import, market, and operate these devices before they are fully authorized, thereby improving the speed at which GEHC can bring them to market.
Continue Reading IoT Update: FCC Waives Equipment Authorization Rules for GE Healthcare to Address COVID-19 Supply Chain and Testing Challenges

Poison prevention has been one of several top priorities of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) during the COVID-19 pandemic. President Trump’s recent speculation about the ingestion of disinfectants as a potential COVID-19 treatment prompted the agency to tweet an urgent safety warning the following day, and product manufacturers have issued similar warning statements about proper use of household cleaning products.

Even before this “ingestion incident,” the CPSC had focused on poison prevention as a top COVID-19 product safety priority. Under the Poison Prevention Packaging Act, originally passed by Congress in 1952 (then the “Poisons Act”) and exclusively enforced by the CPSC, manufacturers are required to test, certify conformance with, and market household cleaning products containing toxic chemicals, as well as prescription drugs and certain over-the-counter drugs (such as aspirin), in special child-resistant packaging.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency enforces similar packaging requirements for certain EPA-registered disinfectant products, such as products that exceed specified toxicity levels, under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. Under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (“FHSA”), enforced by the CPSC, products containing toxic substances must contain precautionary warning statements, such as “Danger” and “Harmful if Swallowed.”

Products that are not compliant with special packaging and labeling requirements are considered misbranded under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act or the FHSA and can trigger mandatory hazard reporting to the CPSC, as well as corrective action such as recalls. Failure to report or late reporting of hazardous or noncompliant products also can trigger government investigations, enforcement actions, and civil or criminal penalties under the Consumer Product Safety Act.

COVID-19 has required the consumer product industry to confront an array of challenges, as businesses seek to protect the health of their employees and consumers, while navigating major supply-chain disruptions, testing lab closures, and unanticipated changes in production and consumer demand for products. Consumer product manufacturers, importers, and retailers should remain vigilant about product safety compliance during this extraordinary time.

Summarized below are the top five points for consumer product companies to keep in mind during the COVID-19 pandemic:


Continue Reading Consumer Product Safety Compliance During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The wheels continue to turn with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (“NHTSA”) efforts to modernize vehicle safety standards, including for connected and automated vehicles (“CAVs”). Most recently, NHTSA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”), seeking public comment on its endeavors “to improve safety and update rules that no longer make sense” for certain CAVs, “such as requiring manual driving controls on autonomous vehicles.” According to NHTSA, the NPRM is a “[h]istoric first step for the agency to remove unnecessary barriers to motor vehicles equipped with automated driving systems” (“ADS”).

Comments on the NPRM are due by May 29, 2020.
Continue Reading IoT Update: NHTSA Continues to Ramp Up Exploration of Automated Driving Technologies

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have ramped up efforts to subsidize the provision of the telecommunications and broadband services necessary to deliver telehealth solutions.  This includes steps to make it easier for eligible health care providers to secure funding under the FCC’s existing Rural Healthcare (RHC) program, developing procedures for tapping into a new $200 million COVID-19 Telehealth Fund, and launching a pilot program intended to help eligible health care providers deliver online (connected) care to a greater number of low-income patients and veterans.
Continue Reading FCC Embarks on New Rural Health Initiatives with CARES Act Funding