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Why Is FEC Appealing to Congress for Expanded Jurisdiction Over Political Ads’ AI Content?

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TL;DR

  • FEC deadlocked on regulating AI content in political ads, appealing to Congress for expanded jurisdiction.
  • Concerns arise as AI-generated “deep fakes” become part of political campaigns.
  • Lawmakers introduce bills to require disclaimers on AI-generated political ads, but broader AI influence on social media remains unaddressed.

 

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) faced a deadlock on Thursday regarding the regulation of AI content in political ads. The commissioners voted 3-3 along party lines on whether to open the matter for public comment. While some commissioners expressed skepticism about their authority over AI, there was a consensus that the FEC’s jurisdiction is limited to cases where fraudulent misrepresentation occurs. Consequently, the FEC has now appealed to Congress to expand its jurisdiction over AI-generated political content. This development comes as AI technology increasingly permeates various sectors, including political campaigns.

The Federal Election Commission is an independent regulatory agency of the federal government of the United States whose purpose is to enforce campaign finance law in United States federal elections. With over 300 employees, FEC is led by six Commissioners. The Commission maintains a database of individuals who have made contributions to federally registered political committees. 

The role of the FEC and the call for expanded jurisdiction

Commissioner Allen Dickerson, a Republican, acknowledged the FEC’s limited authority in regulating AI content and emphasized that their jurisdiction primarily involves cases of fraudulent misrepresentation. However, Dickerson expressed support for the FEC’s request to Congress for expanded jurisdiction in this regard. Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat, also supported opening the petition for public comment, highlighting the importance of soliciting outside feedback and engaging with the public on these matters.

AI, particularly as “deep fakes,” has found its way into political campaigns. Candidates, campaigns, and affiliated groups have utilized hyper-realistic photos and videos generated by AI in their advertising and other public content. This trend raises concerns about the potential for misleading and manipulated information to influence elections and public opinion.

The petition and legislative efforts

The nonprofit advocacy group Public Citizen filed a petition with the FEC, urging them to regulate certain forms of misleading AI-generated content under existing rules on fraudulent misrepresentation of a candidate. While the FEC deadlocked on this petition, lawmakers in Congress have taken steps to address the issue. Recently, Democratic legislators introduced a bill that would require disclaimers on political ads featuring AI-generated images or videos. Republicans have yet to indicate their stance on the proposal.

President Biden’s engagement and Senator Schumer’s framework

President Joe Biden recently convened a meeting with technology leaders to discuss the risks and potential of AI technology. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also presented a framework for AI policy and governance, highlighting the risks to politics and elections posed by the spread of fabricated AI-generated content. Schumer emphasized the need for proactive measures to protect the integrity of elections.

While the proposed legislation in Congress aims to address AI-generated political advertisements, it only covers a fraction of the broader issue of AI’s influence on information dissemination through social media platforms. Beyond creating fake content, AI holds the potential in automating voter canvassing and facilitating efficient communication channels like email.

The FEC’s recent deadlock on regulating AI content in political ads has prompted an appeal to Congress for expanded jurisdiction in this domain. As AI technology becomes more prevalent in political campaigns, concerns about the spread of misleading and manipulated content have escalated. While legislative efforts are underway to address specific aspects of AI-generated political advertisements, there is a recognition of the need for comprehensive measures to mitigate the potential risks posed by AI in politics.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Glory Kaburu

Glory is an extremely knowledgeable journalist proficient with AI tools and research. She is passionate about AI and has authored several articles on the subject. She keeps herself abreast of the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning and writes about them regularly.

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