As President Biden prepares to release an executive order (EO) on responsible AI, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is pushing for action from seven big tech companies that did not participate in the voluntary commitments proposed by the White House that would promote greater AI security and transparency.

In a series of letters sent this week, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee called on companies that have not taken this public step to commit to making their products more secure, and urged them to take additional action to promote safety and prevent malicious misuse of AI.

The lawmaker pushed directly on companies that did not engage with the White House – Apple, Midjourney, Mistral AI, Databricks, Scale AI, and Stability AI – and requested responses detailing the steps they plan to take to increase the security of their products and prioritize transparency.

“While I applaud the Administration’s efforts to secure these commitments, I was hoping to see your company included as one of the participants,” Sen. Warner wrote to each company’s CEO on Aug. 16. “I see an urgent need to emphasize security at the forefront of AI technology development and I believe that, as a leading company in this space, you have a responsibility to ensure that your products and systems are secure.”

Sen. Warner offered up a handful of questions to the AI companies on whether they’re planning to engage with the administration’s commitments and what other commitments they believe to be imperative for the security of AI.

In July, the White House announced that seven leading AI companies committed – on a voluntary basis – to “move toward safe, secure, and transparent development of AI technology.”

Amazon, Anthropic, Google, Inflection, Meta, Microsoft, and OpenAI all agreed to three commitments: ensuring products are safe before introducing them to the public, building systems that put security first, and earning the public’s trust.

Sen. Warner’s letters this week acknowledge and applaud those seven companies for publicly joining voluntary commitments proposed by the Biden administration but encourage them to broaden their efforts.

The letters call on these AI companies to extend commitments to less capable models and develop consumer-facing commitments – such as development and monitoring practices – to prevent the most serious forms of misuse. Specifically, he called on the companies to safeguard against “highly sensitive potential misuses,” including non-consensual intimate image generation, social-scoring, real-time facial recognition, and proliferation activity in the context of malicious cyber activity or the production of biological or chemical agents.

“The commitments were not fully comprehensive in scope or in participation” and “several exploitable aspects of the technology [are] left untouched by the commitments,” the senator said.

“While representing an important improvement upon the status quo, the voluntary commitments announced in July can be bolstered in key ways through additional commitments,” Sen. Warner wrote.

The letters follow up on Sen. Warner’s broad calls for bipartisan AI legislation, including an amendment in the Senate National Defense Authorization Act that calls for policies from the Director of National Intelligence on AI, as well as an assessment of the risks and threats relating to the emerging technology.

The Biden-Harris administration said in July that it is developing an EO and plans to pursue bipartisan legislation to help America “lead the way in responsible innovation” of AI.

A White House official said in a press briefing with reporters in July that there is no timeline for President Biden’s AI EO and bipartisan legislation, but that we should expect to see something soon.

The administration also noted that the Office of Management and Budget will soon release draft policy guidance for Federal agencies to “ensure the development, procurement, and use of AI systems is centered around safeguarding the American people’s rights and safety.”

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.