On Wednesday, December 13, 2023, the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) launched a public engagement effort related to its review of the risks and benefits of certain highly-capable artificial intelligence (AI) models.  Among the issues that NTIA will examine to assess these risks and benefits are the model weights that “open” (i.e., publicly available) AI models use to generate model outputs. 

As the NTIA explained it, “[m]odel weights govern how AI algorithms evaluate data by providing instructions as to which factors matter a great deal and which matter less or not at all. Machine language algorithms assess large volumes of data and learn – or are taught – which relative weightings of the many data points available will lead to the most accurate determinations. If the model weights are widely available, the model itself can become easily replicable or potentially manipulable.”

President Biden’s recent Executive Order on AI safety and security requires the Department of Commerce to solicit public input on policy and regulatory approaches to such open models and submit a report to the President based on that input.  In keeping with the Executive Order, NTIA’s review will focus on “dual-use foundation models,” powerful models which, as NTIA explained in its press release, “are generally useful for many purposes.”  NTIA will consider the risks associated with actors’ modification of open models, including by removing safeguards; the benefits of open models to research and innovation; and potential regulatory mechanisms that could manage risks while maximizing benefits.

NTIA has stated that it intends to issue a formal Request for Comment on these issues in early 2024.

Photo of Yaron Dori Yaron Dori

Yaron Dori has over 25 years of experience advising technology, telecommunications, media, life sciences, and other types of companies on their most pressing business challenges. He is a former chair of the firm’s technology, communications and media practices and currently serves on the…

Yaron Dori has over 25 years of experience advising technology, telecommunications, media, life sciences, and other types of companies on their most pressing business challenges. He is a former chair of the firm’s technology, communications and media practices and currently serves on the firm’s eight-person Management Committee.

Yaron’s practice advises clients on strategic planning, policy development, transactions, investigations and enforcement, and regulatory compliance.

Early in his career, Yaron advised telecommunications companies and investors on regulatory policy and frameworks that led to the development of broadband networks. When those networks became bidirectional and enabled companies to collect consumer data, he advised those companies on their data privacy and consumer protection obligations. Today, as new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) are being used to enhance the applications and services offered by such companies, he advises them on associated legal and regulatory obligations and risks. It is this varied background – which tracks the evolution of the technology industry – that enables Yaron to provide clients with a holistic, 360-degree view of technology policy, regulation, compliance, and enforcement.

Yaron represents clients before federal regulatory agencies—including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Department of Commerce (DOC)—and the U.S. Congress in connection with a range of issues under the Communications Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, and similar statutes. He also represents clients on state regulatory and enforcement matters, including those that pertain to telecommunications, data privacy, and consumer protection regulation. His deep experience in each of these areas enables him to advise clients on a wide range of technology regulations and key business issues in which these areas intersect.

With respect to technology and telecommunications matters, Yaron advises clients on a broad range of business, policy and consumer-facing issues, including:

  • Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things;
  • Broadband deployment and regulation;
  • IP-enabled applications, services and content;
  • Section 230 and digital safety considerations;
  • Equipment and device authorization procedures;
  • The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA);
  • Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) requirements;
  • The Cable Privacy Act
  • Net Neutrality; and
  • Local competition, universal service, and intercarrier compensation.

Yaron also has extensive experience in structuring transactions and securing regulatory approvals at both the federal and state levels for mergers, asset acquisitions and similar transactions involving large and small FCC and state communication licensees.

With respect to privacy and consumer protection matters, Yaron advises clients on a range of business, strategic, policy and compliance issues, including those that pertain to:

  • The FTC Act and related agency guidance and regulations;
  • State privacy laws, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and California Privacy Rights Act, the Colorado Privacy Act, the Connecticut Data Privacy Act, the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act, and the Utah Consumer Privacy Act;
  • The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA);
  • Location-based services that use WiFi, beacons or similar technologies;
  • Digital advertising practices, including native advertising and endorsements and testimonials; and
  • The application of federal and state telemarketing, commercial fax, and other consumer protection laws, such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), to voice, text, and video transmissions.

Yaron also has experience advising companies on congressional, FCC, FTC and state attorney general investigations into various consumer protection and communications matters, including those pertaining to social media influencers, digital disclosures, product discontinuance, and advertising claims.

Photo of Jayne Ponder Jayne Ponder

Jayne Ponder is an associate in the firm’s Washington, DC office and a member of the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group. Jayne’s practice focuses on a broad range of privacy, data security, and technology issues. She provides ongoing privacy and data protection…

Jayne Ponder is an associate in the firm’s Washington, DC office and a member of the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group. Jayne’s practice focuses on a broad range of privacy, data security, and technology issues. She provides ongoing privacy and data protection counsel to companies, including on topics related to privacy policies and data practices, the California Consumer Privacy Act, and cyber and data security incident response and preparedness.

John Bowers

John Bowers is an associate in the firm’s Washington, DC office. He is a member of the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group and the Technology and Communications Regulation Practice Group.

John advises clients on a wide range of privacy and communications issues…

John Bowers is an associate in the firm’s Washington, DC office. He is a member of the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group and the Technology and Communications Regulation Practice Group.

John advises clients on a wide range of privacy and communications issues, including compliance with telecommunications regulations and U.S. state and federal privacy laws.