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Data privacy law seen as needed precursor to AI regulation

While artificial intelligence appears to be a shiny new bauble full of promises and perils, lawmakers in both parties acknowledge that they must first resolve a less trendy but more fundamental problem: data privacy and protection.

With dozens of hearings on data privacy held in the past five years, lawmakers in both chambers have proposed several bills, but Congress has enacted no federal standard as dickering over state-preemption has stymied any advances.

“I agree that data privacy is going to be the foundation of that trust that everyone believes” is essential to widespread adoption of AI systems, Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., said in an interview. “We have got to know who owns what data and that the use of data is not harmful.”

Hickenlooper, chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, said full committee Chair Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., “feels the same commitment to making sure that at some point, perhaps not this year, but with a sense of urgency, we get a data privacy bill because that is going to underpin so much of what’s going to happen in terms of creating trust in AI.”

—CQ-Roll Call


Texas drag ban blocked, federal judge rules new law unconstitutional

AUSTIN, Texas — A federal judge on Tuesday declared a Texas law targeting drag shows unconstitutional, siding with LGBTQ Pride event organizers and performers who sued and blocking its enforcement.

U.S. District Court Judge David Hittner ruled the law, known as Senate Bill 12, violated the free speech and expression rights of drag performers and was written too vaguely to be easily understood or enforced.

“Not all people will like or condone certain performances,” Hittner wrote. “This is no different than a person’s opinion on certain comedy or genres of music, but that alone does not strip First Amendment protection.” Hittner, who was appointed by former President Ronald Reagan, added that the “chilling effect S.B. 12 will have on speech in general outweighs any hardship on the State of Texas.”


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