The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) is seeking comment on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) that would modify certain aspects of the FCC’s device authorization rules. Specifically, the FCC is seeking comment on a proposed revision to its device authorization rules to allow the importation of limited quantities of radiofrequency (“RF”) devices prior to authorization for pre-sale activities, including imaging, packaging, and delivery to retail locations. The FCC also is proposing rule revisions that would allow conditional sales, but not delivery, of RF devices to consumers prior to authorization.
On 17 December 2020, the Council of Europe’s* Ad hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI) published a Feasibility Study (the “Study”) on Artificial Intelligence (AI) legal standards. The Study examines the feasibility and potential elements of a legal framework for the development and deployment of AI, based on the Council of Europe’s human rights standards. Its main conclusion is that current regulations do not suffice in creating the necessary legal certainty, trust, and level playing field needed to guide the development of AI. Accordingly, it proposes the development of a new legal framework for AI consisting of both binding and non-binding Council of Europe instruments.
The Study recognizes the major opportunities of AI systems to promote societal development and human rights. Alongside these opportunities, it also identifies the risks that AI could endanger rights protected by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), as well as democracy and the rule of law. Examples of the risks to human rights cited in the Study include AI systems that undermine the right to equality and non-discrimination by perpetuating biases and stereotypes (e.g., in employment), and AI-driven surveillance and tracking applications that jeopardise individuals’ right to freedom of assembly and expression.
The newly enacted National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) contains important provisions regarding the development and deployment of artificial intelligence (“AI”) and machine learning technologies, many of which build upon previous legislation introduced in the 116th Congress. The most substantial federal U.S. legislation on AI to date, these provisions will have significant implications in the national security sector and beyond. The measures in the NDAA will coordinate a national strategy on research, development, and deployment of AI, guiding investment and aligning priorities for its use.
President Trump had vetoed the NDAA after its initial passage in December, but the $740 billion NDAA became law over the objection of President Trump’s veto with a rare New Year’s Day Senate vote, 81-13. The House voted to override President Trump’s veto on December 28, on a 322-87 vote.
This post highlights some of the key AI provisions included in the NDAA. Continue Reading
Connected and automated vehicle (“CAV”) developments in Washington are likely to pick up speed as 2021 rolls in. Indeed, a new presidential administration, new agency leadership, and a new Congress may drive new CAV regulation while also spurring innovation in an industry that many believe can enhance road safety, mobility, and accessibility. For instance, John Porcari, a Biden-Harris campaign advisor and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation under President Barack Obama, recently indicated that transportation agencies under President Biden would prioritize innovation and technological change and adopt a federal framework for autonomous vehicles.
Lawmakers and regulators, furthermore, will have the opportunity to build on some of the initiatives that picked up speed during the fall of 2020, such as the Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution Act (H.R. 8350) (“SELF DRIVE Act”), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (“NHTSA”) AV TEST tool, and NHTSA’s request for comment on its proposed framework for Automated Driving Systems (“ADS”) safety. Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) adoption of rules to modernize the 5.9 GHz Band could spur the deployment of CAV technology, and the new administration may reinvigorate inter-agency efforts to examine consumer data privacy and security issues posed by CAVs, as well as CAV-related developments in infrastructure. This post looks down the road ahead for CAV developments in Washington. Continue Reading
In April 2019, the UK Government published its Online Harms White Paper and launched a Consultation. In February 2020, the Government published its initial response to that Consultation. In its 15 December 2020 full response to the Online Harms White Paper Consultation, the Government outlined its vision for tackling harmful content online through a new regulatory framework, to be set out in a new Online Safety Bill (“OSB”).
This development comes at a time of heightened scrutiny of, and regulatory changes to, digital services and markets. Earlier this month, the UK Competition and Markets Authority published recommendations to the UK Government on the design and implementation of a new regulatory regime for digital markets (see our update here).
The UK Government is keen to ensure that policy initiatives in this sector are coordinated with similar legislation, including those in the US and the EU. The European Commission also published its proposal for a Digital Services Act on 15 December, proposing a somewhat similar system for regulating illegal online content that puts greater responsibilities on technology companies.
Key points of the UK Government’s plans for the OSB are set out below.
On December 15, 2020, the European Commission published its proposed Regulation on a Single Market for Digital Services, more commonly known as the Digital Services Act (“DSA Proposal”). In publishing the Proposal, the Commission noted that its goal was to protect consumers and their fundamental rights online, establish an accountability framework for online services, and foster innovation, growth and competitiveness in the single market. On the same day, the Commission also published its proposal for a Digital Markets Act (“DMA”), which would impose new obligations and restrictions on online services that act as “designated gatekeepers” (see our analysis of the DMA Proposal here).
Yesterday, the European Commission published its proposals for the Digital Markets Act (“DMA Proposal”) and Digital Services Act (“DSA Proposal”), proposing new regulation of “intermediary services” and “designated gatekeepers”. The proposals would impose new obligations on providers of digital services and augment enforcement powers.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order (EO) on December 3, providing guidance for federal agency adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) for government decision-making in a manner that protects privacy and civil rights.
Emphasizing that ongoing adoption and acceptance of AI will depend significantly on public trust, the EO charges the Office of Management and Budget with charting a roadmap for policy guidance by May 2021 for how agencies should use AI technologies in all areas excluding national security and defense. The policy guidance should build upon and expand existent applicable policies addressing information technology design, development, and acquisition.
On Friday, December 4, 2020, President Trump signed the bipartisan Internet of Things (“IoT”) Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2020 into law. The IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act empowers the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) to create cybersecurity standards for internet-connected devices purchased and used by federal agencies. For more information on the law, please see our blog post here.
After the President signed the bill, one of the sponsors of the bill, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), commented on Twitter that: “After years of bipartisan work, tonight, my bill, The Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Improvement Act, is now the law of the land. As the number of IoT devices in use continues to grow, we must ensure safeguards are in place to defend these devices from cyber threats.”
On 25 November 2020, the European Commission published a proposal for a Regulation on European Data Governance (“Data Governance Act”). The proposed Act aims to facilitate data sharing across the EU and between sectors, and is one of the deliverables included in the European Strategy for Data, adopted in February 2020. (See our previous blog here for a summary of the Commission’s European Strategy for Data.) The press release accompanying the proposed Act states that more specific proposals on European data spaces are expected to follow in 2021, and will be complemented by a Data Act to foster business-to-business and business-to-government data sharing.
The proposed Data Governance Act sets out rules relating to the following:
- Conditions for reuse of public sector data that is subject to existing protections, such as commercial confidentiality, intellectual property, or data protection;
- Obligations on “providers of data sharing services,” defined as entities that provide various types of data intermediary services;
- Introduction of the concept of “data altruism” and the possibility for organisations to register as a “Data Altruism Organisation recognised in the Union”; and
- Establishment of a “European Data Innovation Board,” a new formal expert group chaired by the Commission.