FTC Nominees Stress the Need for Vigilance Against Deceptive AI Use
During a confirmation hearing, three Federal Trade Commission (FTC) commissioner nominees emphasized the importance of addressing deceptive artificial intelligence (AI) practices. This bipartisan stance signals a united front on this pressing issue.
The hearing aimed to evaluate the re-nomination of Democrat Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter and the nominations of two Republicans, Andrew Ferguson and Melissa Holyoak, who served as the solicitors general of Virginia and Utah, respectively. Notably, Ferguson previously held the position of chief counsel to U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
When questioned by Senator John Thune regarding the FTC's role in enforcing AI-related regulations, Slaughter underscored the agency's responsibility to pursue cases involving violations of laws against unfair and deceptive practices, regardless of whether AI was involved. She acknowledged that there might be AI-related concerns beyond the scope of the FTC Act, which would require congressional consideration.
Both Ferguson and Holyoak concurred with Slaughter's stance. Holyoak highlighted the potential for AI to amplify fraudulent activities, such as phishing emails and robocalls, making scams more convincing to potential victims.
This consensus among the nominees is particularly noteworthy in light of past partisan disputes within the FTC. Earlier this year, Republican FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson resigned and criticized the agency's leadership.
If confirmed by the Senate, as widely anticipated, the addition of the two Republican nominees will not shift the balance of power within the FTC. The commission, responsible for enforcing antitrust laws, is currently chaired by Democrat Lina Khan, with two Democratic commissioners already in place.