The FCC is considering AI regulations for political ads

The FCC is considering AI regulations for political ads

The Federal Communications Commission is taking the first step toward new rules that would require political ads on TV and radio to include a disclaimer about the use of artificial intelligence.

On Wednesday, FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel called on other agency commissioners to support such regulations amid growing concerns that AI-Generated Deepfakes could interfere with elections.

“As artificial intelligence tools become more accessible, the Commission wants to ensure that consumers are fully informed when the technology is used,” Rosenworcel said in a news release. “Today, I have shared with my colleagues a proposal that makes it clear that consumers have the right to know when AI tools are used in political ads they see, and I hope they act quickly on this issue.”

Wednesday’s proposal aims to open up a rulemaking process at the FCC that could take months to play out.

The proposal calls for new rules governing broadcast TV and radio, as well as cable and satellite providers. Under the proposed rules, political advertisers on the medium will have to make on-air disclosures if their ads contain AI-generated content. The FCC does not regulate Internet-based media such as streaming video services or social media.

As part of the proposed rule, political advertisers will also have to provide written disclosure in a file posted by the broadcaster to be made available to the public.

The FCC’s move aims to fill a yawning gap in the regulation of artificial intelligence in political advertising.

Existing US election law prohibits campaigns from “fraudulently misrepresenting another candidate or political party,” but whether this ban extends to AI-generated content is an open question.

Last summer, Republicans on the Federal Election Commission blocked a measure that would have clarified the law that extended to AI-created images; The FEC has since agreed to resume discussions, but it has not reached a decision on the matter.

At the same time, some US lawmakers have proposed legislation that could curb AI in elections. In March, a bipartisan proposal by Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar and Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski launched the AI Transparency in Elections Act, which would require AI disclaimers on political ads.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, stressed the urgent need for Congress to create controls for artificial intelligence, especially for elections. Last week, he and a bipartisan group of senators released a blueprint for legislative action. But many policy analysts doubt that Congress can pass meaningful AI legislation during an election year.

Online platforms such as META have taken their own steps to address AI in political ads, requiring campaigns to expose the use of Deepfakes and ban the use of its internal generative AI tools for political advertising.

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