Hawley, Blumenthal Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Consumers and Deny AI Companies Section 230 Immunity

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Today U.S. Senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) – the Ranking Member and the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, respectively – introduced the No Section 230 Immunity for AI Act.

This new bipartisan legislation would clarify that Section 230 immunity will not apply to claims based on generative AI, ensuring consumers have the tools they need to protect themselves from harmful content produced by the latest advancements in AI technology.

For example, AI-generated “deepfakes” – lifelike false images of real individuals – are exploding in popularity. Ordinary people can now suffer life-destroying consequences for saying things they never said, or doing things they never would. Companies complicit in this process should be held accountable in court.

“We can’t make the same mistakes with generative AI as we did with Big Tech on Section 230,” said Senator Hawley. “When these new technologies harm innocent people, the companies must be held accountable. Victims deserve their day in court and this bipartisan proposal will make that a reality.”

“AI companies should be forced to take responsibility for business decisions as they’re developing products—without any Section 230 legal shield,” said Senator Blumenthal. “This legislation is the first step in our effort to write the rules of AI and establish safeguards as we enter this new era. AI platform accountability is a key principle of a framework for regulation that targets risk and protects the public.”

The No Section 230 Immunity for AI Act would:

  • Amend Section 230 by adding a clause that strips immunity from AI companies in civil claims or criminal prosecutions involving the use or provision of generative AI. 
  • Empower Americans harmed by generative AI models to sue AI companies in federal or state court.

Read the full bill text here.

On May 16, 2023, Senators Hawley and Blumenthal held a landmark hearing on AI oversight. All three witnesses at that hearing, including OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, agreed that Congress needed to take action, as new developments in generative AI technology – from large language models to art generators – are advancing at a breakneck pace, upending many aspects of American life.

Last week, Senator Hawley announced five guiding principles for the future of AI legislation.