The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will not collect or disseminate data used in artificial intelligence (AI) activities and will ensure all facial recognition technologies will be thoroughly tested as part of a new set of AI guidelines released Thursday.
The new DHS policies, developed by a department task force on AI, are part of the broader Biden administration aim to manage the risks of the technology.
“Artificial intelligence is a powerful tool we must harness effectively and responsibly,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “Our Department must continue to keep pace with this rapidly evolving technology, and do so in a way that is transparent and respectful of the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of everyone we serve.”
The department also announced that Chief Information Officer Eric Hysen will serve as its first chief AI officer. In that role, Hysen will promote AI innovation and safety at DHS, and advise Mayorkas and department leadership on AI issues, according to the announcement.
Hysen will continue to serve in his role as the department’s chief information officer as well.
Part of the new guidelines stems from a policy statement that establishes a set of principles for DHS’s use of AI. The department uses AI to advance its missions, including combatting fentanyl trafficking and countering child sexual exploitation.
Under the new principles, DHS will “only acquire the use of AI in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution and all other applicable laws and policies.”
The new principles also require that DHS not “collect, use, or disseminate data used in AI activities,” or “establish AI-enabled systems that make or support decisions, based on the inappropriate consideration” of factors like race, gender or ethnicity.
The new guidelines also include a directive that calls for the use of all facial recognition and face capture technology to be “thoroughly tested to ensure there is no unintended bias.”
DHS will review the existing use of this technology, and conduct periodic testing and evaluation of all systems.
The guidelines come as lawmakers and regulators grapple with how to regulate the booming AI industry. On Wednesday, leaders in the tech industry and civil rights groups met with senators in a closed-door meeting to discuss the benefits and risks of AI.
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