After a busy start to the year, regulatory and policy developments related to Artificial Intelligence and Automated Systems ("AI") have continued apace in the second quarter of 2021. Unlike the comprehensive regulatory framework proposed by the European Union ("EU") in April 2021, more specific regulatory guidelines in the U.S. are still being proposed on an agency-by-agency basis. President Biden has so far sought to amplify the emerging U.S. AI strategy by continuing to grow the national research and monitoring infrastructure kick-started by the 2019 Trump Executive Order and remain focused on innovation and competition with China in transformative innovations like AI, superconductors, and robotics. Most recently, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021--sweeping, bipartisan R&D and science-policy legislation--moved rapidly through the Senate. While there has been no major shift away from the previous "hands off" regulatory approach at the federal level, we are closely monitoring efforts by the federal government and enforcers such as the FTC to make fairness and transparency central tenets of U.S. AI policy.
With 2022 well underway, the rapid pace of statutory, regulatory, policy, and industry activities in digital health continues in force. We bring you Vital Signs, a curated, one-stop resource on the most notable digital health law updates from our U.S. and global contributors. As telehealth services have become expected from consumers, U.S. federal coverage is extended and expanded, along with a recent legislative proposal of permanency for telehealth flexibility. Similarly, state jurisdictions are taking steps to relax modality requirements and enhance protections to consumer data and privacy, while state and local taxing authorities are seeking to claim their stake in income derived from remote activities. In our Industry Insights, you'll hear from experienced tax lawyers about state and local taxing authorities focused on digital health. We also report on new developments at the USPTO that affect digital health patent applications. Globally, you'll read about the numerous developments concerning data and privacy protection as digital health policy remains at forefront of jurisdictions throughout the EU. We thank our contributors and once again commit to continue to monitor and bring to you curated updates covering the myriad developments that will undoubtedly continue throughout 2022. The pandemic accelerated the learning curve for state tax agencies in the progress of remote work taxation. In 2020, a number of states issued guidance stating that the presence of a telecommuting employee whose work shifted to remote as a result of COVID-19, would not create a taxable connection ("nexus") with the state.
In her first major speech to a U.S. audience after the U.S. presidential election, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen laid out priority areas for transatlantic cooperation. She proposed building a new relationship between Europe and the United States, one that would encompass transatlantic coordination on digital technology issues, including working together on global standards for regulating artificial intelligence (AI) aligned with EU values. A reference to cooperation on standards for AI was included in the New Transatlantic Agenda for Global Change issued by the Commission on December 2, 2020. In remarks to Parliament on January 22, 2021, President von der Leyen called for "creating a digital economy rule book" with the United States that is "valid worldwide." Some would say Europe's new outreach on issues of tech governance and the suggestion of establishing an "EU-U.S. Trade and Technology Council" is incongruous to the current regulatory war being waged against ...
This week the Chair of the European Parliament's committee on AI expressed concerns about the enforcement of the European Commission's proposed AI rules, which he said could create national fragmentation similar to that seen with the GDPR. So what are the issues involved, what is the proposed new EU law and how does GDPR already regulate AI? At the start of 2020, 42% of companies in the EU said they use technologies that depend on AI, and another 18% of companies said they are planning to use AI in the future (European Enterprise Survey – FRA, 2020). So, this is clearly an area that is justifiably generating considerable activity and interest from both industry and the regulators. It is important to note however that currently the available technologies involve varying levels of complexity, automation and human review and, despite some companies' optimism about their AI capabilities, many applications currently used remain in the development stage.