Bill to Regulate AI, FCC to Address Broad Use of 42 GHz Spectrum, Verizon seeks STIR/SHAKEN Extension

Senators introduced changes to a 2022 bill that would increase AI regulation.

Bill to Regulate AI, FCC to Address Broad Use of 42 GHz Spectrum, Verizon seeks STIR/SHAKEN Extension
Photo of Michael Bennet, D-C.O.

May 22, 2023 – Sens. Michael Bennet, D-C.O., and Peter Welch, D-VT., introduced changes to a bill last week that would make artificial intelligence regulation more explicit.

The updated Digital Platform Commission Act of 2022 on May 18 would establish a Federal Digital Platform Commission to regulate digital platforms and establish an age-appropriate design code and age verification standards for AI. The commission would work to protect consumers from deceptive, unfair, or abusive practices.

The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission currently oversee digital platforms but “they lack the expert staff and resources necessary for robust oversight,” read a press release.

“We can no longer be observers as digital technology companies ranging from social media to artificial intelligence make their own rules without any oversight to protect the public interest,” said Tom Wheeler, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

“Such oversight must be nimble enough to promote innovation and investment,” he continued.

“Senator Bennet and Welch’s bill is the first bill that proposes a consumer-centered approach that would put a full-time ‘cop on the beat’ to make sure that online platforms treat people fairly and follow the law,” said Harold Feld, senior vice president at Public Knowledge.

In April, Senator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., proposed a high-level AI policy framework focused on ensuring transparency and accountability by requiring companies to allow independent experts to review and test AI technologies and make results available publicly.

Later in April, Representative Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., introduced a bill that would require the disclosure of AI-generated content in political ads.

The Joe Biden administration announced on May 4 that it will invest $140 million in funding to launch seven new National AI Research Institutes, which will bring the total number of institutes to 25 across the country.

FCC to address 42 GHz Spectrum

The FCC’s June open meeting will consider a notice of proposed rulemaking that would explore how the 42 – 42.5 GHz spectrum band might be made available on a shared basis.

The FCC will consider how the band might be made available through one of several non-exclusive spectrum access models that would have the potential to maximize its use, particularly by smaller providers, read the press release.

Th nationwide non-exclusive licensing approach would require the licensees to apply for the license with the commission and then register specific deployment sites with a third-party database; the site-based approach would require licensees to apply for each deployment site with the commission; and the technology-based sensing approach would require licensees to use interference-avoiding technology to ensure positive shared use of the band without the need for a registration database.

Other meeting agenda items include strengthening consumer consent for robocalls and robotexts by considering a notice of proposed rulemaking that would allow consumers to decide which robocalls and texts they wish to receive.

Verizon seeks STIR/SHAKEN Extension

Verizon is seeking an extension of the STIR/SHAKEN implementation deadline for its subsidiary, XO Communications, that would allow Verizon to continue certain legacy services until Jun 30, 2024.

As part of the FCC’s efforts to combat growing illegal robocalls, it mandated implementing STIR/SHAKEN for voice service providers. The framework requires providers to authenticate and verify caller identification before it reaches the end user, which is intended to help reduce the calls that often lead to scams.

In accordance with FCC rules, providers were granted a one-year extension until Jun 30, 2022 to either discontinue legacy services or implement STIR/SHAKEN.

According to the waiver submitted to the FCC, Verizon said it worked diligently to transition its retail customers from these legacy services to alternative solutions. However, the company was unable to fully discontinue the legacy services by the deadline because of complications transitioning the United States Postal Service’s network.

Verizon is now collaborating with the United States Postal Service on a plan to migrate the network to a new cloud-based platform and is seeking an extension of the deadline to support the transition.

The company expects to complete the USPS’s transition to the new communications platform by June 30, 2024. In the meantime, USPS will contribute to benefit from Verizon’s other robocall prevention technologies, the telecom said.

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