Microsoft Takes Steps to Protect Elections

Fair, free elections are the bedrock of successful democracies—and we need healthy governments for effective policymaking. Unfortunately, as described in a recent report from Microsoft’s Threat Analysis Center (MTAC), we could see significant challenges to election integrity in the coming year—through the misuse of technology.

In response, Microsoft announced its Election Protection Commitments and a series of actions to help combat threats against voters, candidates, political campaigns, and election authorities. You can read about this important development in this Microsoft on the Issues blog. As part of Microsoft’s support for election security, the company is endorsing the bipartisan “Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act.”

Tomorrow is Veterans Day! Thank you to all service members—active, retired, and remembered. Earlier this week, VFI posted a video and Q&A with RJ Naugle—U.S. Army Veteran, VFI leader, and tech policy advocate—that highlights his advocacy work, his purpose-driven business, and his company’s Homeless Navigation Application (NAVApp), a first-of-its-kind mobile solution that is helping municipalities coordinate services for unhoused residents. Please read and share this blog.

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This Week in Washington 

  • Nextgov/FCW: During Election Day 2023, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) increased election security operations to encourage swift information sharing on potential threats to digital voting, but reported seeing only routine and standard disruptions. 
  • StateScoop: CISA announced that two non-profits, the South Memphis Renewal Community Development Corporation and Per Scholas, will each receive $1.5 million to bolster cyber workforce development and training for underserved communities.
  • NPR: Meta whistleblower Arturo Bejar, a former engineer who was in charge of protecting the users of Instagram and Facebook, testified in front of Congress and claimed he raised concerns about harm to teenagers to top company executives, but saw no action taken. The Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law is currently working to advance the Kids Online Safety Act to address such claims.
  • Roll Call: A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation that includes provisions that would limit the U.S. government’s authority to conduct warrantless searches for information on Americans, citing Fourth Amendment violations.
  • Financial Times: Just weeks after the Biden administration restricted the sale of high-performing chips that can be used to create AI systems to China, Nvidia has begun to reconfigure its chips to sell them and work around the new U.S. regulations.
  • Telecompetitor: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) announced nearly $5.2 million in new funding to support 14,000 students with off-campus learning, which includes homework and summer online learning programs.

Article Summary

  • CNBC: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made a surprise appearance at OpenAI’s DevDay in San Francisco, their first in-person event, to invite developers to come build with Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure.
  • The Conversation: Two Australian researchers provide an overview of AI regulation and policy, primarily in the European Union, China, the United States and the United Kingdom.
  • Reuters Westlaw Today: According to this analysis, state attorneys general are keenly interested in playing a role in artificial intelligence policymaking and law enforcement.
  • StateScoop: Texans voted to approve a new state constitutional amendment that will create a Broadband Infrastructure Fund that will support the state’s ongoing broadband expansion plans and future projects through the $42.5 billion received through the Broadband, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.
  • Reuters: Big tech firms, such as Alphabet and Meta, will face new rules from the EU requiring them to clearly label political advertisements on their platforms, who paid for them, and which election they are targeting, to increase transparency and accountability ahead of their 2024 election. This announcement comes as European Commissioner Thierry Breton called on TikTok to “spare no effort” countering the spread of disinformation.

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The Wall Street Journal

  • WSJ What’s News
    World leaders sounded the alarm on AI at a summit in the U.K., saying it was time to ‘take science fiction seriously.’ Microsoft president Brad Smith tells our Luke Vargas why an AI ‘safety brake’ is necessary to prevent the technology from endangering humanity. (Microsoft’s Brad Smith Wants an AI ‘Off Switch’ – November 3, 2023)