On September 8, 2023, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, announced a new bipartisan framework for artificial intelligence (“AI”) legislation.  Senator Blumenthal said, “This bipartisan framework is a milestone – the first tough, comprehensive legislative blueprint for real, enforceable AI protections. It should put us on a path to addressing the promise and peril AI portends.” He also told CTInsider that he hopes to have a “detailed legislative proposal” ready for Congress by the end of this year.

The framework focuses on several key goals, summarized below: 

  • Establish a Licensing Regime Administered by an Independent Oversight Body: The framework proposes a licensing regime administered by an independent body.  With respect to which entities would need to register, the framework states that “[c]ompanies developing sophisticated general-purpose A.I. models should be required to register.”  The framework contemplates that licensing would include information on the AI model and that the oversight board would have authority to conduct audits of companies seeking licenses. 
  • Ensure Legal Accountability for Harms: The framework encourages Congress to ensure that AI companies can be held liable through both oversight body enforcement and private rights of action, including by “clarifying that Section 230 does not apply to A.I.”
  • Defend National Security and International Competition: The framework notes that Congress should use export controls, sanctions, and other restrictions to limit the transfer of advanced AI models and associated technologies to adversary nations and countries engaged in human rights violations.
  • Promote Transparency: The framework also alludes to certain responsibilities for developers and deployers of AI systems.  For example, the framework states that “[d]evelopers should be required to disclose essential information about the training data, limitations, accuracy, and safety” of the model to both users and companies deploying AI systems.  The framework also mentions that “A.I. system providers” should be required to watermark or otherwise provide technical disclosures of AI-generated deep fakes.
  • Protect Consumers and Kids: The framework states that companies “deploying A.I. in high-risk or consequential situations” should be required to “implement safety brakes,” such as providing notice when AI is being used to make decisions, “particularly adverse decisions.” The framework also states that “strict limits should be imposed on generative A.I. involving kids.”

We will continue to update you on meaningful developments in these quarterly updates and across our blogs.

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Photo of Jennifer Johnson Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson is a partner specializing in communications, media and technology matters who serves as co-chair of Covington’s global and multi-disciplinary Internet of Things (IoT) group. She represents and advises content distributors, broadcast companies, trade associations, and other media and technology entities on…

Jennifer Johnson is a partner specializing in communications, media and technology matters who serves as co-chair of Covington’s global and multi-disciplinary Internet of Things (IoT) group. She represents and advises content distributors, broadcast companies, trade associations, and other media and technology entities on a wide range of issues. Jennifer has more than two decades of experience advising clients in the communications, media and technology sectors, and has served as a co-chair for these practices for more than 15 years. On IoT issues, she collaborates with Covington’s global, multi-disciplinary team to assist companies navigating the complex statutory and regulatory constructs surrounding this evolving area, including legal issues with respect to connected and autonomous vehicles, internet connected devices, smart ecosystems, and other IoT products and services.

Jennifer assists clients in developing and pursuing strategic business and policy objectives before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress and through transactions and other business arrangements. She regularly advises clients on FCC regulatory matters and advocates frequently before the FCC. Jennifer has extensive experience negotiating content acquisition and distribution agreements for media and technology companies, including program distribution agreements with cable, satellite, and telco companies, network affiliation and other program rights agreements for television companies, and agreements providing for the aggregation and distribution of content on over-the-top app-based platforms. She also assists investment clients in structuring, evaluating, and pursuing potential investments in media and technology companies.

Photo of Jayne Ponder Jayne Ponder

Jayne Ponder is an associate in the firm’s Washington, DC office and a member of the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group. Jayne’s practice focuses on a broad range of privacy, data security, and technology issues. She provides ongoing privacy and data protection…

Jayne Ponder is an associate in the firm’s Washington, DC office and a member of the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group. Jayne’s practice focuses on a broad range of privacy, data security, and technology issues. She provides ongoing privacy and data protection counsel to companies, including on topics related to privacy policies and data practices, the California Consumer Privacy Act, and cyber and data security incident response and preparedness.