Alaska Senator Shelley Hughes Introduces Bill to Regulate AI Use in State Agencies and Policies

January 15, 2024

Alaska Senator Shelley Hughes has put forward Senate Bill 117 with the short title ‘AI, DEEPFAKES, CYBERSECURITY, DATA XFERS’ in advance of the legislative session scheduled on Tuesday.  Addressing state agencies’ engagement, the bill focuses on the potential use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), data privacy concerns, cybersecurity issues, and the manipulation of political deep fakes.

Deep fakes, the fusion of ‘deep learning’ and ‘fake media’ generated via AI and ML, blur the boundaries between reality and illusion, allowing cybercriminals to target and deceive vulnerable victims.

Acknowledging the inevitability of AI, Shelley Hughes noted its pervasive presence in daily life. While talking about the daily life incorporation of AI, Shelley reportedly stated, “As policymakers, we must work to harness this tool for good and safeguard against bad actors.”

“It is also vital we take the individual Alaskan into account; with the vast amount of data state agencies have and may input into algorithms that generate AI outputs, we must ensure data privacy and strong cybersecurity are as airtight as possible.”

Balancing Protection and Political Challenges

State agencies in Alaska are barred from using AI for 30 major decisions if the system involves biometric identification such as recognizing faces or emotions, manipulating behavior, or social scoring.

As per the bill, state agencies will be prohibited from using AI for consequential decisions if the system uses data from the People’s Republic of China, including the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Region, the Republic of Cuba, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation; or the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela under the regime of Nicolás 13 Maduro Moros.

The bill addresses the use of politically driven deep fakes, created by digital manipulation of a person, often used to disseminate false information with malicious intent.

Hughes mentioned that 2024 will see a surge in the prevalence of deep fakes, and stated,

“It is important the legislature address this relatively new AI phenomenon. With easily accessible AI available to develop deepfakes, the likelihood of their creation during the 2024 election cycle is inevitable.”

There is a growing challenge regarding the potential to create and alter the digital representation of genuine people as AI systems are continuously advancing in power and sophistication. One common misuse of AI involves deep fakes, which malicious actors frequently employ to steal personal data, for social engineering purposes, or political manipulation. Robust measures taken in this context may mitigate the challenge of deep fakes evolving in the online domain.