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Senators Propose Bipartisan Federal Legislation Targeting AI Use

This week, senators have proposed two bipartisan pieces of legislation that target the use of AI, one focused on advancing military use and the other focused on tackling the issue of identity fraud.

Robotic white hand holds a silver lock to represent the intersection between AI and security.
Two bipartisan pieces of federal legislation announced this week aim to regulate some aspects of AI.

Experts continue to pose the question of how Congress can effectively regulate AI, with some arguing that lawmakers lack the capacity to regulate every potential AI application.

The first piece of legislation, announced Monday, takes aim at combating identity fraud.

The legislation, to be introduced by senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., is known as the POST ID Act and would allow the United States Postal Service (USPS) to offer ID verification and related services to the private sector, something the agency currently does for government agencies.

In addition to these services, the bill would authorize USPS to issue authenticators to verified individuals, to conduct identity proofing at any USPS location, and to charge fees as necessary to cover costs.

“AI is a powerful tool and while it has the potential for good, bad actors can exploit it to do harm,” said Cassidy in an announcement. “As we learn to navigate a world with AI, Americans must have tools to combat identity fraud.”

The second piece of legislation is focused on military adoption of AI and data collection. Introduced Sept. 4 by senators Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Mike Rounds, R-S.D., the legislation aims to establish the chief digital and artificial intelligence officer’s (CDAO) governing council.

This council would be responsible for overseeing the Department of Defense's (DoD) AI priorities, as well as ensuring that the CDAO has authority to own any data collected by the DoD for the purpose of maintaining an advantage over adversaries.

“To maintain our strategic advantage, the United States military must be at the forefront of AI technologies,” Manchin said in the announcement.

The legislation would elevate CDAO Governing Council membership to Under Secretary and Joint Staff leadership levels and would mandate twice-annual meetings of the council at minimum. It would also require the council to create ethical guidelines for the use of AI in the military. In addition, it would protect access to military AI systems and the data that powers those systems.

The legislation would build on action taken this summer by the federal government. In August, the DoD announced a task force focused on AI to be led by the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office. In April, the Department of Homeland Security announced its own AI task force.