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Thomas Massie Introduce Bill to Halt Federal Funding for AI Censorship Tools

Thomas Massie Introduce Bill to Halt Federal Funding for AI Censorship Tools

Jun 6, 2024

Thomas Massie Introduce Bill to Halt Federal Funding for AI Censorship Tools

A group of over two dozen House Republicans has introduced a bill aimed at stopping the Biden Administration from using federal funds to support the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools intended for online content censorship. The bill, known as H.R. 8519, specifically targets government expenditure on AI systems that could be employed to identify and suppress what is deemed as "disinformation."

The brief 83-word bill, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and others, outlines a clear prohibition on the allocation of federal funds for several types of research grants and programs, including:

  1. Disinformation research grants.
  2. Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace grants.
  3. Programs within the National Science Foundation’s Track F: Trust and Authenticity in Communications Systems.

A report by the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government has highlighted the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Track F program as a significant concern for online free speech. The report accuses the program of funding AI-driven tools that could be used to censor or manipulate online speech, under the purported objective of combating misinformation. According to the report, the NSF has been a central figure in what it calls the 'censorship industrial complex.'

The bill's proponents argue that the NSF Track F program, which was introduced in March 2021 with a funding allocation of $21 million, is less about ensuring the integrity of communications systems and more about enforcing censorship under the guise of addressing misinformation. The program has been implicated in funding various initiatives, such as monitoring media and social media platforms, aiding in content moderation decisions, and informing interventions against misinformation.

In a press release, bill sponsor Rep. Thomas Massie has expressed concern over the implications of such government-funded censorship efforts, stating that if congressional accounts can be censored under the pretext of combating misinformation, it could happen to anyone. Massie also claimed that the government's censorship actions have extended to accurate information he posted on his official congressional Twitter account.

The bill, if enacted, would put an end to the obligation or expenditure of federal funds for the specified research and programs, thereby curtailing the government's role in the development of AI tools that could potentially censor online content.

As of now, H.R. 8519 has been referred to a committee for consideration. The future implications of this bill, should it pass, would mark a significant shift in how the federal government is involved in the research and development of communication technologies, especially those related to information dissemination and control online.

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