The European Union (EU) is working on a pioneering attempt to regulate artificial intelligence (AI), a technology that has profound implications for society and democracy. However, this effort has faced intense lobbying from US tech companies, who want to shape the rules in their favor and avoid strict obligations.
According to documents obtained by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), a watchdog group that monitors corporate influence on EU policy-making, US tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft have been using various tactics to influence the EU's AI regulation.
Some of these tactics include:
- Creating industry coalitions and think tanks that promote their views and interests
- Hiring former EU officials and politicians as lobbyists and advisers
- Organising events and meetings with EU officials and stakeholders
- Funding research and academic institutions that support their agenda
- Participating in public consultations and expert groups
CEO´s report, titled “The lobbying ghost in the machine”, reveals how US tech companies have tried to weaken or delay the EU's AI regulation, which aims to protect human rights, democracy and the environment from harmful AI applications.
US tech companies have argued that:
- The EU should adopt a “risk-based” approach that only regulates high-risk AI
- applications, such as facial recognition or biometric surveillance
- The EU should avoid imposing mandatory requirements or prohibitions on certain AI applications, such as transparency, accountability or human oversight
- The EU should align its AI regulation with international standards and frameworks, such as those developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) or the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI)
- The EU should foster innovation and competitiveness in the AI sector by providing incentives, funding and support for research and development
CEO's report warns that US tech companies' lobbying could undermine the EU's ambition to become a global leader in ethical and trustworthy AI. It also calls for more transparency and accountability in the EU's decision-making process on AI regulation.
To expose Big Tech lobbying practices, CEO has launched a new hotline for anonymous tip-offs called LobbyLeaks. Anyone who has information about Big Tech lobbying campaigns or tactics can submit it via lobbyleaks.eu.
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