U.S. Group Appeals to FTC to Set Up AI Oversight, Regulations
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to establish rules on AI that would prevent discrimination against consumers in employment, credit, healthcare, housing, and criminal justice⏤all areas with great potential for abuse.
According to the petition by EPIC, which it presented on Monday, February 3, a lack of U.S. regulations has already caused a rapid spread of problems because there’s no accountability and no requirement that AI developers prove that their algorithms are reliable and trustworthy.
“The United States must work with other democratic countries to establish red lines for certain A.I. applications and ensure fairness, accountability and transparency as A.I. systems are deployed,” EPIC’s board wrote in its petition.
According to a story on bloomberglaw.com, the FTC confirmed that it had received the petition, but declined to comment on it.
EPIC has already filed several complaints about AI algorithms with the FTC in recent years, which are outlined in the petition. These include one criticizing HireVue, Inc.’s use of proprietary AI to evaluate the qualifications of job candidates based primarily on voice and appearance.
“HireVue’s use of secret algorithms to analyze job candidates’ biometric data violates widely-adopted ethical standards for the use of artificial intelligence,” including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Principles on Artificial Intelligence and the Universal Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence (UGAI). EPIC ‘urge[d] the Commission to investigate HireVue and to find that its uses of facial recognition technology, biometric data, and secret, unproven algorithms constitute unfair and deceptive trade practices.’ “
The European Union (EU) has far outpaced the United States in formulating regulations for AI, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which outlines privacy protections for data and its use, prohibits discrimination and promotes transparency. Companies operating in its countries are required to meet its standards. It has invested millions in developing a comprehensive AI plan and policies.
The FTC has held public hearings on AI and related issues of predictive technologies since at least 2018, but has yet to adopt any policies or regulations.
“Algorithmic accountability is a complex topic, but the impact cuts broadly across life in America, from jobs and credit to housing and criminal justice,” EPIC wrote in an op-ed piece in The New York Times in August of 2016.
The group is urging the FTC to take steps towards regulation, especially since the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in coordination with the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Director of the Domestic Policy Council, and the Director of the National Economic Council, asked for comments last month on a memorandum drafted a year ago urging the adoption of regulations to guide development of AI and its uses, particularly by government agencies, according to EPIC.
“The OMB AI Guidance lays out ten “Principles for the Stewardship of AI Applications”: 1. Public Trust in AI. 2. Public Participation. 3. Scientific Integrity and Information Quality. 4. Risk Assessment and Management. 5. Benefits and Costs. 6. Flexibility. 7. Fairness and Non-Discrimination. 8. Disclosure and Transparency. 9. Safety and Security. 10. Interagency Coordination.”
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