European Commission

On December 9, 2023, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission reached a political agreement on the EU Artificial Intelligence Act (“AI Act”) (see here for the Parliament’s press statement, here for the Council’s statement, and here for the Commission’s statement). Following three days of intense negotiations, during the fifth “trilogue” discussions amongst the EU institutions, negotiators reached an agreement on key topics, including: (i) the scope of the AI Act; (ii) AI systems classified as “high-risk” under the Act; and (iii) law enforcement exemptions.

As described in our previous blog posts on the AI Act (see here, here, and here), the Act will establish a comprehensive and horizontal law governing the development, import, deployment and use of AI systems in the EU. In this blog post, we provide a high-level summary of the main points EU legislators appear to have agreed upon, based on the press releases linked above and a further Q&A published by the Commission. However, the text of the political agreement is not yet publicly available. Further, although a political agreement has been reached, a number of details remain to be finalized in follow-up technical working meetings over the coming weeks.Continue Reading EU Artificial Intelligence Act: Nearing the Finish Line

On October 30, 2023, days ahead of government leaders convening in the UK for an international AI Safety Summit, the White House issued an Executive Order (“EO”) outlining an expansive strategy to support the development and deployment of safe and secure AI technologies (for further details on the EO, see our blog here). As readers will be aware, the European Commission released its proposed Regulation Laying Down Harmonized Rules on Artificial Intelligence (the EU “AI Act”) in 2021 (see our blog here). EU lawmakers are currently negotiating changes to the Commission text, with hopes of finalizing the text by the end of this year, although many of its obligations would only begin to apply to regulated entities in 2026 or later.

The EO and the AI Act stand as two important developments shaping the future of global AI governance and regulation. This blog post discusses key similarities and differences between the two.Continue Reading From Washington to Brussels: A Comparative Look at the Biden Administration’s Executive Order and the EU’s AI Act

On 13 October 2023, members of the G7 released a set of draft guiding principles (“Principles”) for organisations developing advanced AI systems, including generative AI and foundational models.

In parallel, the European Commission launched a stakeholder survey (“Survey”) on the Principles, inviting any interested parties to comment by 20 October 2023.  After the Survey is complete, G7 members intend to compile a voluntary code of conduct that will provide guidance for AI developers.  The Principles and voluntary code of conduct will complement the legally binding rules that EU co-legislators are currently finalizing under the EU AI Act (for further details on the AI Act, see our blog post here).

The Principles build on the existing OECD AI principles published in May 2019 (see our blog post here) in response to recent developments in advanced AI systems.  They would apply to all participants in the AI value chain, including those responsible for the design, development, deployment, and use of AI systems.Continue Reading G7 Countries Publish Draft Guiding Principles for Advanced AI Development

The field of artificial intelligence (“AI”) is at a tipping point. Governments and industries are under increasing pressure to forecast and guide the evolution of a technology that promises to transform our economies and societies. In this series, our lawyers and advisors provide an overview of the policy approaches and regulatory frameworks for AI in jurisdictions around the world. Given the rapid pace of technological and policy developments in this area, the articles in this series should be viewed as snapshots in time, reflecting the current policy environment and priorities in each jurisdiction.

We start this series with a look at how the European Union is approaching the governance of AI.

Continue Reading Spotlight Series on Global AI Policy — Part I: European Union

On July 28, 2023, more than five years after the Commission’s original proposal, the EU e-evidence Regulation and Directive were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, signalling the end of the legislative process for this file.

In summary, the Regulation establishes a regime whereby law enforcement authorities (“LEAs”) in one EU Member State will be able to issue legally-binding demands for certain data from certain categories of service providers (namely providers of electronic communications services, domain name and IP registration services, and information society services that enable users to communicate or store data) that are established or have a legal representative in a different EU Member State, or demand such service providers to preserve such data. Continue Reading The EU e-evidence package is published in the Official Journal

In a new strategy published on July 11, the European Commission has identified Web 4.0 and Virtual Worlds—often also referred to as the metaverse—as having the potential to transform the ways in which EU citizens live, work and interact.  The EU’s strategy consists of ten action points addressing four themes drawn from the Digital Decade policy programme and the Commission’s Connectivity package: (1) People and Skills; (2) Business; (3) Government (i.e., public services and projects); and (4) Governance.

The European Commission’s strategy indicates that it is unlikely to propose new regulation in the short to medium-term: indeed, European Competition Commissioner Margarethe Vestager has recently warned against jumping to regulation of Virtual Worlds as the “first sort of safety pad.” Instead, the Commission views its framework of current and upcoming digital technology-related legislation (including the GDPR, the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act and the proposed Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation) to be applicable to Web 4.0 and Virtual Worlds in a “robust” and “future-oriented” manner. Continue Reading European Commission Publishes New Strategy on Virtual Worlds

On July 10, 2023, the European Commission adopted its adequacy decision on the EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework (“DPF”). The decision, which took effect on the day of its adoption, concludes that the United States ensures an adequate level of protection for personal data transferred from the EEA to companies certified to the DPF. This blog summarizes the key findings of the decision, what organizations wishing to certify to the DPF need to do and the process for certifying, as well as the impact on other transfer mechanisms such as the standard contractual clauses (“SCCs”), and on transfers from the UK and Switzerland.Continue Reading European Commission Adopts Adequacy Decision on the EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework

On 31 May 2023, at the close of the fourth meeting of the US-EU Trade & Tech Council (“TTC”), Margrethe Vestager – the European Union’s Executive Vice President, responsible for competition and digital strategy – announced that the EU and US are working together to develop a voluntary AI Code of Conduct in advance of formal regulation taking effect. The goal, according to Vestager, is to develop non-binding international standards on risk audits, transparency and other requirements for companies developing AI systems. The AI Code of Conduct, once finalized, would be put before G7 leaders as a joint transatlantic proposal, and companies would be encouraged to voluntarily sign up.Continue Reading EU and US Lawmakers Agree to Draft AI Code of Conduct

On May 25, 2023, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that, on behalf of the U.S. government, it filed responses to the European Commission’s public consultation on The Future of the Electronic Communications Sector and Its Infrastructure.  The consultation explores the issue of how to best promote connectivity and ensure reliable broadband access throughout the EU, as well as the kinds of infrastructure and investments needed to support the evolving telecommunications landscape.  Among other things, the consultation seeks feedback on whether content and application providers (also referred to as Over-The-Top (OTT) services in the U.S.) should make mandated “fair share” payments to telecom operators to subsidize current and future connectivity needs.  NTIA’s filing comes amid an ongoing debate surrounding the future of the U.S. Universal Service Fund (USF) and whether and how to expand its contribution base.Continue Reading Biden Administration Weighs in on European Commission’s “Fair Share” Telecoms Consultation

In April 2021, the European Commission released its proposed Regulation Laying Down Harmonized Rules on Artificial Intelligence (the “Regulation”), which would establish rules on the development, placing on the market, and use of artificial intelligence systems (“AI systems”) across the EU. The proposal, comprising 85 articles and nine annexes, is part of a wider package of Commission initiatives aimed at positioning the EU as a world leader in trustworthy and ethical AI and technological innovation.

The Commission’s objectives with the Regulation are twofold: to promote the development of AI technologies and harness their potential benefits, while also protecting individuals against potential threats to their health, safety, and fundamental rights posed by AI systems. To that end, the Commission proposal focuses primarily on AI systems identified as “high-risk,” but also prohibits three AI practices and imposes transparency obligations on providers of certain non-high-risk AI systems as well. Notably, it would impose significant administrative costs on high-risk AI systems of around 10 percent of the underlying value, based on compliance, oversight, and verification costs. This blog highlights several key aspects of the proposal.Continue Reading European Commission Proposes New Artificial Intelligence Regulation