May 26, 2024
FTC Steps Up AI Oversight

FTC Boosts AI Oversight with Streamlined Investigation Protocol

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has given approval to a new, streamlined process for the investigation of cases involving the unlawful use of artificial intelligence (AI). In a unanimous decision, the FTC has approved a measure that streamlines its staff’s ability to issue civil investigative demands (CIDs), a form of compulsory process akin to a subpoena, specifically for AI-related investigations. This move underscores an increased emphasis on addressing potential legal violations related to AI applications.

CIDs are issued by the FTC to gather documents, information, and testimony that advance consumer protection and competition investigations. According to the FTC’s statement, this omnibus resolution will remain effective for ten years, signaling the agency’s commitment to investigating AI-related cases. Critics of AI technology have raised concerns about its potential to amplify fraudulent activities. During a September U.S. Senate confirmation hearing, FTC Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter, a nominee for re-nomination, agreed with two other nominees that the focus should be on challenges like the use of AI to enhance the persuasiveness of phishing emails and robocalls, according to a Reuters report.

The advent of AI has expanded possibilities for human expression and creative capabilities. However, the ability to perform various tasks with a digitally generated AI identity has also introduced new challenges. Data from Sumsub indicates that the proportion of fraud attributed to deep fakes more than doubled between 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, with a significant increase in the U.S. from 0.2% to 2.6%.

On November 16, the agency launched a competition to identify the most effective method for safeguarding consumers from fraud and other risks associated with voice cloning. Voice cloning technology has become more sophisticated as text-to-speech AI technology has advanced. While holding promises for consumers, such as providing medical assistance for those who have lost their voices due to accidents or illness, the technology also poses risks that the FTC aims to address.

Image by freepik

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