Over the last year, we’ve shared news about state and federal proposals to support online safety for young people. This week, we want to highlight a new Microsoft on the Issues blog dedicated to the topic, “Advancing youth online safety and wellness.”
It’s critical to recognize that technology plays a positive role in enabling young people to access educational, social, and employment opportunities. At the same time, regulatory measures can help strengthen digital safety for young people. For more on this issue, please read the new blog from Microsoft’s Chief Digital Safety Officer Courtney Gregoire.
Thank you for reading. You’ll find this week’s tech policy news roundup and a featured podcast below.
This Week in Washington
- FedScoop: Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) is expected to release a series of bipartisan AI bills supported by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), taking the first step to comprehensive legislation for the emerging tech in Congress.
- Billboard: A bipartisan group of House lawmakers has introduced the No Artificial Intelligence Fake Replicas And Unauthorized Duplications Act (No AI FRAUD Act), which aims to establish a baseline of protection of one’s voice and likeness. This bill aligns with regulations several music executives have called for in previous months following fake songs going viral.
- Time: OpenAI is collaborating with the U.S. Defense Department to develop tools for open-source cybersecurity software. The company is also in talks with the U.S. government on developing tools to assist with preventing veteran suicide and accelerating their efforts to ensure their technology won’t be used to spread political disinformation.
- Nextgov/FCW: National Cyber Director Harry Coker announced that the White House is working to eliminate the unnecessary barriers federal contractors face when applying for cybersecurity jobs, like four-year degree requirements.
- Nextgov/FCW: Since its creation in 2022, the State Department’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy has helped better position the agency to achieve its cybersecurity goals by consolidating its digital efforts, according to a report from the Government Accountability Agency (GAO).
- Broadband Breakfast: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released an order on the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) with detailed instructions for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), including a note to stop accepting new ACP enrollments after February 7. Despite this, the order left out guidance on how ISPs should adjust their broadband labels, which are required to promote the ACP.
- Nextgov/FCW: A recent report from the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency needs to strengthen its collaborative efforts with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce the number of digital threats targeting critical water systems.
- CNBC: While speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella expressed the need for global coordination on AI. Nadella also noted that a global consensus may emerge for the technology despite jurisdictions having varied approaches.
- Axios: Arizona State University announced it has become the first higher education institution to collaborate with OpenAI, the AI research and deployment company behind ChatGPT. Starting in February, the university will invite faculty and staff to submit ideas for implementing ChatGPT Enterprise, focused on enhancing student success, forging new avenues for innovative research and streamlining organizational processes.
- Washington Post: Researchers at a U.S. children’s hospital have collaborated with the Uganda Heart Institute to develop a new AI-powered tool to help diagnose rheumatic heart disease in young patients. The system will allow trained nurses to screen and diagnose patients early on so they can be treated long before needing surgery.
- POLITICO: State lawmakers are pushing for social media companies to make child-safe versions of their platforms, believing that they are increasing the rates of mental illness in children. These state-level pushes are occurring as Congress continues to struggle with how to best protect kids online.
- Reuters: Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird announced that the state is suing TikTok, stating that the platform lied to parents about the safeguards they have in place for young children on the app and their access to inappropriate content.
Nir Eyal is a bestselling author and entrepreneur with a special expertise in how to make products and services engaging and habit-forming. In his book Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life, he harnessed that expertise to develop simple guidelines on how we can maintain focus and tune out the ubiquitous distractions that buffet us all day, every day. Eyal is the last guest for season 5 of the WorkLab podcast, in which host Molly Wood has conversations with economists, technologists, and researchers who explore the data and insights about the work trends you need to know today—from how to use AI effectively to what it takes to thrive in our new world of work. (Nir Eyal on How to Defeat Distraction in an Always-on World – January 3, 2023)