Biden Administration Proposes Big Tech Scanning All Images on Users’ Phones to Comply with New AI Regulations


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The Biden administration has put forward a proposal that requires tech companies to scan images, on users smartphones to comply with new AI regulations. This measure is aimed at preventing the dissemination of ‘non consensual AI images of a nature’ as stated in an announcement from the White House.

Addressing concerns surrounding AI generated content the White House has underscored its dedication to tackling the production and spread of explicit material created by AI technologies. The emphasis is on urging both technology and sectors to take the lead in implementing these measures.

In efforts to ensure safety the administration suggests that developers of operating systems, such as Android and iOS should implement technical safeguards to enhance content protection on digital devices. The objective is to prevent sharing of images. The proposed plan involves having these operating systems automatically scan and flag photos containing non consensual content. However this approach has sparked privacy worries raising questions about users losing control over keeping their phone images private, from government monitoring.

Exploring implications and privacy concerns…The proposal, by the administration goes beyond scanning photos; it also includes a call for mobile app stores like Apples App Store and Google Play to enforce regulations on app developers to prevent the circulation of non consensual images. This raises a question; Are we comfortable with invasive access to our personal photos and apps?

There are concerns about overreach and mission creep. Critics suggest that while the initial aim of the proposal may be to combat AI generated visuals it could open the door to government surveillance. Ken Macon from Reclaim the Net warns that normalizing on device monitoring could result in censorship of content by the authorities.

The Biden administrations plan emphasizes collaboration across sectors, including AI developers, payment processors, financial institutions, cloud computing providers, search engines and gatekeepers of mobile app stores like Apple and Google. By uniting these stakeholders the White House hopes to prevent the creation, dissemination and commercialization of AI images.

Tech giants such, as Amazon, Google, Meta (Facebook and Instagram) and Microsoft have previously made voluntary commitments to incorporate safeguards into their AI systems.
The White House is now looking into implementing measures. Privacy experts are worried, about the expansion of surveillance beyond its purpose, which could result in extensive monitoring of personal digital content under the guise of preventing crime.

The Risks of Surveillance on Devices
Monitoring user photos continuously raises privacy concerns. In the past software like Photoshop has allowed users to edit images on their devices without facing observation. So why this sudden emphasis on consensual and sexual imagery?

Ken Macon also cautions that this may establish a precedent, for more invasive digital content scanning that goes beyond its original intent.

A Bleak Future?
Issues regarding privacy infringement and the encroachment of technology are not new. One individual highlighted the progression towards a reality citing instances of AI manipulating historical records. This person referenced the Bible, Revelation 18;4 5 urging individuals to “come out from her my people so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues.”

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