Foreign Election Interference Identified in New Report

Dear Executive Briefing Subscribers—

Earlier this week, the Microsoft Threat Analysis Center (MTAC) released a new report on the current scope of foreign election interference in the U.S.—and the use of AI for malign influence. The full report can be found here and a summary discussion here. Microsoft and many other tech companies are taking steps to detect and respond to nation-state election interference as part of their participation in the Tech Accord to Combat Deceptive Use of AI in 2024 Elections. We will continue to follow this issue throughout the 2024 election cycle.

Related: VFI recently posted a new issue page about AI policymaking, which includes links to many in-depth resources. Please explore Artificial Intelligence: Emerging Approaches for Governing AI.

Thank you for staying engaged with VFI. You’ll find this week’s tech policy news roundup below.

This Week in Washington 

  • The Hill: The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a hearing focused on two important technology bills, the newly introduced federal data privacy legislation and the Kids Online Safety Act. It will be the first public discussion on the American Privacy Rights Act between lawmakers.
  • Roll Call: Congress has many technology policy challenges on its plate, from AI to privacy and children’s online safety, and time is running short ahead of the November election. 
  • Nextgov: The Department of Justice added a new rule to Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act that aims to improve the accessibility of web content and apps, particularly government-owned websites and apps, for people with disabilities. This final rule clarifies the obligations of state and local governments to make their websites and mobile applications accessible, requiring them to comply with internationally recognized standards. 
  • ReutersFBI Director Christopher Wray warned that an ongoing Chinese hacking campaign known as Volt Typhoon has successfully accessed American companies in critical sectors including telecommunications, energy, and water. China’s government says the effort is not state-sponsored but instead the work of a criminal group.
  • New York Times: The Biden administration approved up to $6.4 billion in grants to Samsung to help fund the South Korean company’s new chip manufacturing hub in Taylor, Texas, and expand an existing facility in Austin. Samsung’s investment in Texas will increase to roughly $45 billion, up from the $17 billion it announced more than two years ago, including a newly-planned R&D facility and advanced factory. The American company Micron will also receive funds: $6.1 billion to build semiconductor factories in New York and Idaho. Micron’s Boise facility is the first new plant for making memory chips in the U.S. in decades. Federal officials’ goal for these grants is to help create a U.S. hub for semiconductor research, development, and production, and the companies say the investments will create thousands of new jobs.
  • Broadband Breakfast and StateScoop: A letter to the U.S. House of Representatives urges members to sign a discharge petition that would force a debate and floor vote on the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act. President Joe Biden has also called on Republicans in Congress since last October to save the $14.2 billion ACP program
  • StateScoop: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) received $2.64 billion in requests for funding through its for Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, but it only has $980 million to spend this funding round.
  • CyberScoop: House lawmakers criticized the healthcare giant UnitedHealth Group for its role in and response to a ransomware attack that left parts of the U.S. healthcare system crippled. Legislators argue that a growing consolidation within healthcare creates cybersecurity vulnerabilities that impact patients.

Article Summary

  • Reuters: A California judge dismissed some claims in a sprawling case accusing Meta and other social media companies of addicting children to their platforms. Lawsuits were filed by children against Meta, Google as owner of YouTube, TikTok owner Bytedance, and Snapchat. The dismissed cases aimed to hold Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally accountable.
  • CNN: Law enforcement officials in 19 countries conducted raids and searches on more than 70 locations in the UK and across the world to shut down a cybercrime platform called LabHost. Officials arrested 37 suspects, accusing them of selling phishing kits that make it easier for criminals to create fake websites that trick people into providing email addresses, passwords and bank details.
  • Yahoo Finance (Reuters): Microsoft is investing $1.5 billion in United Arab Emirates-based artificial intelligence firm G42 – a deal supported by the U.S. government and requiring G42 to remove Chinese hardware from its operations. “We will combine world-class technology with world-leading standards for safe, trusted, and responsible AI, in close coordination with the governments of both the UAE and the United States,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith.
  • ABC News: The International Olympic Committee released an agenda for using AI in sports, including using tools to help identify promising athletes, personalize training methods and improve judging during the Olympic games.
  • The Hill: Content creators and advocacy groups have been left wondering what constitutes “political content” following a move by Instagram to limit it on the platform. 
  • The New Yorker: How closely can humans simulate reality? Video games are designed to mimic the mechanics of the real world. A key part of many game engines is the physics engine, which mathematically models everything we’ve learned about the physical world. 

Featured Highlight

Voices for Innovation

  • AI Issue Page
    Voices for Innovation launched a brand new issue page focused on Artificial Intelligence. Emerging AI technologies have the potential to accelerate research and development in medicine, agriculture, transportation, education, energy, and more. How can we ensure that these technologies are designed and used responsibly—and that the benefits of AI reach everyone? What principles and guardrails should guide the development and use of AI? (Voices for Innovation Key Issue: Artificial Intelligence – April 11, 2024)