Rep. McMorris Rodgers Supports National Data Privacy Standard to Combat AI ‘Bad Actors’

Nov 14, 2023

By Ted Hearn, Editor of Policyband

Rep. McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) unveiled a plan Tuesday designed to counter Artificial Intelligence (AI) “bad actors” intent on exploiting the innovative technology to rob people of their data privacy.

“AI has the potential to usher in a new era of discovery and innovation. That said, AI also raises serious concerns about how bad actors can exploit this technology and abuse it.  As AI gets deployed, we must think about appropriate measures to ensure accountability,” the lawmaker said.

Specifically, she came out in support of “laying the groundwork to protect people’s information with a national data privacy standard, which provides greater transparency and puts people back in control over the collection and use of their personal information.” She did not offer further details about the standard she enunciated.

McMorris Rodgers is the Chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, a powerful panel that will have a direct role in drafting legislation aimed at regulating AI systems and the entities that control them.

The lawmaker addressed her concerns, and hopes, for AI at a hearing by Communications and Technology Subcommittee titled “Leveraging AI to Enhance American Communications.”

The hearing came about two weeks after President Biden signed an executive order requiring executive department officials to monitor and regulate AI developers.

In her comments, McMorris Rodgers said she largely favored “a light-touch, market-driven approach that provides clear rules and guidance for industry. She added that she believed “the Biden administration’s recent AI Executive Order fell short of this objective.”

According to the Associated Press, under the White House plan, the Defense Production Act would be invoked to require key “AI developers to share safety test results and other information with the government. The National Institute of Standards and Technology would need to create standards to ensure AI tools are safe and secure before public release.”

Furthermore, “the Commerce Department would have to issue guidance to label and watermark AI-generated content to help differentiate between authentic interactions and those generated by software.”

Morris Rodgers described Biden’s plan as placing “unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens that could hinder the development of this critical technology.”  

She urged the White House to confer with Congress to begin the effort on reaching a consensus position.

“To address the challenges of AI and take advantage of the benefits, the administration needs to work with Congress to strike the right balance between encouraging innovation and ensuring responsible development and deployment,” she said.

She stressed the need to focus on “cyber risks and the abuse of people’s personal data.”