Bipartisan Bill Aims to Regulate Export of Top AI Models

US lawmakers introduce the ENFORCE Act to modernize export controls on AI and emerging technologies with national security implications. The bill grants the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security authority to regulate AI exports to prevent misuse by foreign adversaries.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Bipartisan Bill Aims to Regulate Export of Top AI Models

Bipartisan Bill Aims to Regulate Export of Top AI Models

US lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill, the "Enhancing National Frameworks for Overseas Critical Exports Act" (ENFORCE Act), to modernize the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (ECRA) and grant the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) authority to regulate the export of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies with national security implications.

The bill aims to prevent the export of AI systems that could be used by foreign adversaries, including the Chinese Communist Party, its military, and controlled companies, to aid future cyberattacks against the United States. The BIS will be granted authority to use export controls on AI and other emerging technologies that pose a national security risk.

Why this matters: The regulation of AI exports has significant implications for national security, as unchecked exports could lead to the development of advanced cyberattack capabilities by foreign adversaries. Effective regulation can help prevent the misuse of AI and protect the US from potential security threats.

Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) emphasized the need for this legislation, stating, "The U.S. government has the tools it needs to keep critical hardware with national security ramifications out of the hands of our adversaries' militaries... But we don't have those same clear tools to keep the software that powers advanced technologies – the AI systems themselves – from them." Chairman John Moolenaar (R-MI) highlighted the potential of AI, saying, "Artificial intelligence is a foundational technology of the future with the potential to reshape our economy, our way of life, and our national security. This legislation will protect the American people and help prevent our nation's innovations from falling into the hands of our adversaries."

Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) warned of the risks posed by AI technologies, stating, "Without action, there is a grave possibility that a future cyber-attack on the American homeland could be enabled by AI technologies... The ENFORCE Act would address this threat by ensuring that the Bureau of Industry and Security has the authority necessary to address the security risks posed by AI and technology transfers." Congresswoman Susan Wild (D-PA) stressed the importance of equipping the federal government to handle the opportunities and risks of AI, saying, "Our federal government must have the tools it needs to address both the extraordinary opportunities and risks of new AI technologies, and that means making sure we are protecting the American people—including our workers and businesses—from foreign adversaries."

The ENFORCE Act is a bipartisan effort introduced by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party Chairman John Moolenaar (R-MI), Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), and Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA). The full text of the bill and a summary are available online.

The introduction of the ENFORCE Act underscores the growing recognition among US lawmakers of the need to regulate the export of advanced AI technologies to safeguard national security interests. By granting the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security the necessary authority, this bipartisan bill seeks to prevent potential misuse of AI by foreign adversaries while fostering responsible innovation and development of this critical emerging technology.