Tech Policy Highlights of 2023

2023 will be remembered as the year that AI became part of the national—and global—conversation. AI policymaking was the primary topic covered in this year’s Executive Briefings, though we also touched on several other policy issues. To wrap up the year, we want to remember a few highlights—and provide links to resources.

  • In 2023, Congress held hearings about AI, and the Senate hosted a series of closed-door Insight Forums to educate lawmakers about AI.
  • While Congress did not pass major AI legislation, the federal government took two important actions: Early in the year, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released its AI Risk Management Framework and in October, the White House issued its AI Executive Order (and Fact Sheet).
  • Microsoft engaged throughout the year on AI policy. The company made voluntary commitments developed by the Biden-Harris Administration to advance safe, secure, and trustworthy AI. It also published a white paper on governing AI


Broadband Expansion and Affordable Connectivity Program

  • Throughout the year, states moved forward with bold plans to expand broadband, made possible by the 2021 infrastructure bill.
  • Progress, however, is threatened by the looming expiration of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). This highly successful program, which has enabled more than 22 million households to access broadband, is slated to run out of funding early next year. You can learn more and take action to protect the ACP at this link

Thank you for following the Executive Briefing throughout the year. We’re taking next week off and will return on January 5. Enjoy your holiday—and Happy New Year!

This Week in Washington 

  • Reuters: More than 20 members of Congress sent a letter to President Biden warning that the EU’s Digital Markets Act may be unfairly regulating major U.S. tech companies, and that the EU law could negatively impact American economic and national security interests.
  • Axios: The Senate and House both voted this week to send the latest National Defense Authorization Act to President Biden for signature. The bill includes a four-month extension of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which allows the intelligence community to collect online communications from non-U.S. persons abroad. Some lawmakers and privacy advocates have called for a review of Section 702, but any further action will now wait until Congress returns in 2024.
  • The New York Times: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed sweeping changes to strengthen the rules underlying the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act that would require online platforms to turn off targeted advertising for children under 13, strengthen security requirements for online services that collect children’s data, and limit the time they could keep it.
  • FedScoop: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking information from the broader AI community on how it will implement requirements under President Biden’s AI executive order, including developing best practices for the industry and creating guidance for evaluating AI capabilities.
  • CyberScoop: The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is urging vendors to get rid of their default passwords after a group of hackers utilized them to go on a hacking spree that impacted water facilities.

Article Summary

  • Microsoft on the Issues: In a recent blog for Microsoft on the Issues, Julie Brill, Chief Privacy Officer and Corporate Vice President of Global Privacy and Regulation, discussed Microsoft’s approach to security and transparency in the era of AI.
  • POLITICO: L.L. Bean, one of Maine’s largest employers and best-known brands, has entered into that state legislature’s data privacy discussion, with lobbyists for the company speaking out against a bill that was introduced in May that they believe will add unnecessary burdens for businesses.
  • CBS: To combat package theft, UPS is utilizing DeliveryDefense, an AI-powered program that will give participants’ addresses a score based on the likelihood of successful delivery and an option to have it delivered to a brick-and-mortar store instead.
  • The Hill: NetChoice, the group representing social media giants, including Google, Meta, TikTok, and X, is suing Utah over their Social Media Regulation Act, arguing that the new law violates the First Amendment.

Featured Podcast

Tech Policy Press

  • The Sunday Show
    At the end of this year in which the hype around artificial intelligence seemed to increase in volume with each passing week, it’s worth stepping back and asking whether we need to slow down and put just as much effort into questions about what it is we are building and why. In this episode, we’re going to hear from two researchers at two different points in their careers who spend their days grappling with questions about how we can develop systems and modes of thinking about systems that lead to more just and equitable outcomes, and that preserve our humanity and the planet. (What Are We Building, and Why? – December 17, 2023)