Cybersecurity & Tech

The Cyberlaw Podcast: Sen. Schumer Tackles AI Regulation

Stewart Baker
Wednesday, June 28, 2023, 10:58 AM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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Sen. Schumer (D-N.Y.) has announced an ambitious plan to produce a bipartisan AI regulation program in a matter of months. Jordan Schneider admires the project; I’m more skeptical. The rest of our commentators, Chessie Lockhart and Michael Ellis, also weigh in on AI issues. Chessie lays out the case against panicking over existential AI threats, this week canvassed in the MIT Technology Review. I suggest that anyone complaining that the EU or China is getting ahead of the U.S. in AI regulation (lookin’ at you, Sen. Warner!) doesn’t quite understand the race we’re running. Jordan explains the difficulty the U.S. faces in trying to keep China from surprising us in AI.

Michael catches us up on Canada’s ill-advised effort to force Google and Meta to pay Canadian media whenever a user links to a Canadian story. Meta has already said it would rather end such links. The end result could be that even more Canadian news gets filtered through American media, hardly a popular outcome north of the border.

Speaking of ill-advised regulatory initiatives, Michael and I comment on Australia’s threatening Twitter with a fine for allowing too much hate speech on the platform post-Elon.  

Chessie gives an overview of the Data Elimination and Limiting Extensive Tracking and Exchange Act or the DELETE Act, a relatively modest bipartisan effort to regulate data brokers’ control of personal data. Michael and I talk about the growing tension between EU member states with real national security tasks to complete and the Brussels establishment, which has enjoyed a 70-year holiday from national security history and expects the next 70 to be more of the same. The latest conflict is over how much leeway to give member states when they feel the need to plant spyware on journalists’ phones. Remarkably, both sides think the government should have such leeway; the fight is over how much.  

Michael and I are surprised that the BBC feels obliged to ask, “Why is it so rare to hear about Western cyber-attacks?” Because, BBC, the agencies carrying out those attacks are on our side and mostly respect rules we support.

In updates and quick hits:


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Stewart A. Baker is a partner in the Washington office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP. He returned to the firm following 3½ years at the Department of Homeland Security as its first Assistant Secretary for Policy. He earlier served as general counsel of the National Security Agency.

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