The Biden-Harris Administration issued a landmark executive order entitled “Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy AI.” The order aims to standardize federal procurement of AI, and to lay out the groundwork for establishing new standards for AI safety and security. The order proposes several key measures, including requiring agencies to work with NIST to develop responsible AI testing frameworks and guidances, requiring developers of powerful AI systems to share their safety test and performance results with the government, requiring agencies to evaluate how commercially available PII is collected (including from data brokers), and directing agencies to investigate civil rights violations and unlawful discrimination practices enabled by AI tools.

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) adopted a final ban on Meta’s data processing for behavioral advertising across EU member states and European Economic Area countries. This decision follows a petition from the Norwegian Data Protection Authority urging the EDPB to extend and make permanent their own previously-issued interim ban in Norway. In effect, the EDPB decision clarifies that Meta’s subscription-based consent model does not provide a valid legal basis for its behavioral advertising practices under GDPR.

bipartisan coalition of 42 U.S. attorneys general across the nation filed suit against Meta in federal and state courts, claiming that Meta’s business practices violate state consumer protection laws and the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The suit alleges that Meta knowingly designed and deployed features on Instagram and other social media platforms that purposefully harm children’s mental health, while falsely assuring the public that these features are safe and suitable for young users. 

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a series of cases concerning state action and constitutional free speech on social media platforms. The cases will examine whether public officials can constitutionally block their constituents on social media, whether social media content moderation laws originating in Texas and Florida violate the First Amendment, and whether the Biden administration’s and social media companies’ joint efforts to curb misinformation online — particularly regarding the COVID-19 vaccine — constitutes censorship by the government. 

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced charges against SolarWinds Corporation, a Texas-based software company, for defrauding securities investors. The SEC alleges that SolarWinds’ public statements on their website regarding their cybersecurity practices were overstated and at odds with multiple internal assessments, which identified specific and known deficiencies in their cybersecurity practices. 

The G7 reached an agreement on a set of International Guiding Principles on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a Code of Conduct for AI developers. The voluntary Guiding Principles are intended to help organizations mitigate the risks and potential misuses of AI systems. The Code of Conduct is intended to provide detailed and practical guidance for developers of AI. Both documents are intended to be living and voluntary, to be updated and reviewed as necessary to stay responsive to developments in AI technology. 

(Compiled by Student Fellow Jennifer Kim)