Massachusetts AG Issues Advisory On Artificial Intelligence

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Last month, Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell issued an advisory to provide guidance to businesses regarding their artificial intelligence-related obligations under...
United States Technology
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Last month, Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell issued an advisory to provide guidance to businesses regarding their artificial intelligence-related obligations under the state's consumer protection and other laws.

The advisory is intended to make clear that existing state laws "apply to emerging technology, including AI systems, just as they would in any other context." AG Campbell explained, "As AI usage becomes more common, this advisory serves as an important notice that our state's consumer protection, anti-discrimination, and data privacy laws apply to AI, just as they would within any other applicable context, and my office intends to enforce these laws accordingly."

In the advisory, the AG warns that "AI systems have already been shown to pose serious risks to consumers, including bias, lack of transparency or explainability, implications for data privacy, and more." The AG then provides examples of the types of practices that may violate the state's consumer protection laws, such as:

  • Falsely advertising the quality, value, or usability of AI systems (such as by claiming that an AI system has functionality that it doesn't possess);
  • Supplying an AI system that is defective, unusable, or impractical for the purpose advertised;
  • Misrepresenting the reliability, manner of performance, safety, or condition of an AI system (such as by falsely claiming that a system is fully automated when it isn't or by falsely claiming that an AI system performs functions as accurately as humans do);
  • Offering for sale or use an AI system in breach of warranty, in that the system is not fit for the ordinary purposes for which such systems are used, or that is unfit for the specific purpose for which it is sold where the supplier knows of such purpose;
  • Misrepresenting audio or video content of a person for the purpose of deceiving another to engage in a business transaction or supply personal information as if to a trusted business partner as in the case of deep fakes, voice cloning, or chatbots used to engage in fraud; and
  • Failing to comply with other Massachusetts statutes, rules, regulations or laws, meant for the protection of the public's health, safety or welfare.

The advisory also warns against the use of AI in a manner that could violate the state's anti-discrimination or privacy laws.

While this advisory doesn't change the law, it's an important reminder that making false or misleading AI-related claims in your advertising, or using AI to mislead consumers, may violate state consumer protection (and other) laws – and state attorneys general now have their eye on this.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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