The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved a measure streamlining its ability to issue civil investigative demands in investigations relating to artificial intelligence (AI) use.
Such demands, which the FTC described as a compulsory process similar to a subpoena, will be issued at the agency’s discretion, it said in a press release Thursday.
The investigations will be directed at products and services that use or claim to be produced using AI or claim to detect its use, according to the agency. The FTC will issue the demands to obtain documents, information, and testimony relevant to its goals of consumer protection and regulating competition.
“Although AI, including generative AI, offers many beneficial uses, it can also be used to engage in fraud, deception, infringements on privacy, and other unfair practices, which may violate the FTC Act and other laws,” the agency said. “At the same time, AI can raise competition issues in a variety of ways, including if one or just a few companies control the essential inputs or technologies that underpin AI.”
The commission voted 3-0 to approve the resolution, which will remain in effect for 10 years.
Officials from the FTC have made clear this year the agency’s concern regarding company use of novel AI tools. The FTC notably sent to OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT, an extensive list of questions seeking clarity on how the company monitors, collects, and retains user personal information and ensures control over the popular chatbot.