ACLU requests documents on artificial intelligence from national security agencies
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ACLU requests documents on artificial intelligence from national security agencies

Following the release of a report on the future of artificial intelligence (AI) in government, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said Friday that they have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in order to gather details about how national security and intelligence agencies are using AI in ways that may violate people’s civil rights.

The ACLU says the report by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence raised concerns that government agencies may be sacrificing the privacy and due process rights of citizens for the efficiency that AI provides. The report only devotes one section out of 26 chapters to human rights concerns that may arise during the rapid development of technology.

Discriminatory AI systems pose an issue for citizens as surveillance technology spreads like wildfire. The ACLU points out that “AI systems can be biased against people of color, women, and marginalized communities, and may be used to automate, expand, or legitimize discriminatory government conduct.” They also note historically discriminatory government practices might be expanded and expedited by AI technology. There are also privacy concerns for US citizens at home and abroad.

Although the commission’s report offers solutions such as independent third-party testing to prevent bias and redress for individuals wrongfully targeted by AI systems, the ACLU notes that the government should “establish critical civil rights protections now, at the same time that these systems are being widely deployed by intelligence agencies and the military.”

The ACLU is seeking records including internal regulations, audits, and impact assessments of AI systems from the FBI, the CIA, Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, among others.