The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Sept. 14 announced new policies aimed at ensuring officials use artificial intelligence (AI) in a "responsible" manner to advance the department's missions.
"Artificial intelligence is a powerful tool we must harness effectively and responsibly," said Mr. Mayorkas in a statement. "Our Department must continue to keep pace with this rapidly evolving technology, and do so in a way that is transparent and respectful of the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of everyone we serve."
According to the new policies, DHS will ensure that its facial recognition and face capture technologies undergo extensive testing and oversight to ensure "there is no unintended bias or disparate impact in accordance with national standards."
The policy also clearly states that U.S. citizens will be afforded the right to opt-out of face recognition for "specific, non-law enforcement uses" while the policy also bans face recognition from being used "as the sole basis of any law or civil enforcement-related action."
It also establishes a process for department oversight offices including the Privacy Office, the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and the Office of the Chief Information Officer, to review all new uses of face recognition and face capture technologies.
AI Technology Being Used at Southern BorderAdditionally, the policy dictates that DHS will only acquire and use AI in a manner that is consistent with federal law and will not collect, use, or disseminate data used in AI activities, or "establish AI-enabled systems that make or support decisions, based on the inappropriate consideration of race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, nationality, medical condition, or disability."
In announcing the new policies, DHS said it is rapidly adopting AI to advance its various missions, including combating fentanyl trafficking, strengthening supply chain security, countering sexual exploitation, and protecting critical infrastructure.
The department has also implemented AI technology extensively on the U.S.-Mexico border, including through the use of more than 200 surveillance cameras to detect and flag where human crossings occur, Reuters reports.
DHS also announced the appointment of Chief Information Officer Eric Hysen as the department’s first chief AI officer.
"Artificial intelligence provides the Department with new ways to carry out our mission to secure the homeland," Mr. Hysen said. "The policies we are announcing today will ensure that the Department’s use of AI is free from discrimination and in full compliance with the law, ensuring that we retain the public's trust."
Mr. Hysen will "promote AI innovation and safety" within the department in his new role and advise Mr. Mayorkas and department leadership on issues relating to AI, according to DHS.
CBP Using AI 'Data Collection Tool'The policies come after reports emerged earlier this year that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which is a federal agency under DHS, was using an AI data collection tool to collect publicly available information, including social media activity, that, in some cases, can be linked back to Americans' Social Security or driver's license numbers.
The tool is used to look up telephone numbers, email addresses, and usernames in order to "develop confirmatory or derogatory information," or identify national security threats, according to CBP.
Information collected by the tool, which CBP said is primarily being used for "travelers, persons seeking benefits, and persons of interest," may also collect a person’s name, date of birth, address, email address, phone number, social media usernames, content, images, IP address, Social Security number, driver’s license number, and more.
According to CBP, personally identifiable information obtained by the software may be collected and disseminated.
CBP did not respond to a request for comment on the AI tool when previously contacted by The Epoch Times.