Computer & Communication Industry Association
PublishedApril 10, 2024

CCIA Testifies On California Tech Bills Wednesday

Sacramento, Calif. – As California legislators consider three tech bills at a hearing this week, the Computer & Communications Industry Association will testify in favor of two of them, if amended, and oppose one. The bills are scheduled to be heard by the Assembly’s Elections Committee on Wednesday.

CCIA State Policy Director Khara Boender will testify on behalf of CCIA on AB 2655, AB 2839, and AB 2355 to advocate that legislation to regulate potential misuse of artificial intelligence-generated content be constructed within a framework that businesses can comply with while also fostering an environment in which online expression can flourish. 

CCIA opposes AB 2655, primarily due to the bill’s reliance on the flawed assumption that online platforms possess the capability to definitively and reliably detect manipulated content as defined by the bill. Moreover, the legislation assumes that online platforms are suitable authorities for determining what qualifies as accurate election information, when the reality is that most digital services lack the necessary tools and expertise to make such judgments effectively. While CCIA shares lawmakers’ goal of ensuring that elections remain free and fair, AB 2655, would impose technically and practically infeasible expectations and requirements on covered platforms while jeopardizing users’ ability to engage freely in online political speech. 

CCIA recognizes the legitimate concerns of California lawmakers and residents regarding the potential misuse of AI-generated content to manipulate election outcomes or spread misinformation. In light of these concerns, the organization advocates in favor of AB 2839 and AB 2355 if slight clarifying modifications are made. These bills seek to prevent the deliberate dissemination of misleading digitally altered content in advertisements or election communications with the intent to sway elections or solicit campaign funds. This legislation would require those responsible for originally creating and distributing content to disclose any manipulations, creating transparency and accountability in the electoral process.

The following can be attributed to CCIA State Policy Director Khara Boender:

“The emergence of generative artificial intelligence holds the promise of numerous positive contributions to society. However, it is equally crucial to acknowledge and address potential risks, a step that California lawmakers would be taking in AB 2839 and AB 2355. While we recognize the urgent need to implement policies protecting the integrity of elections, it is crucial to carefully consider the numerous challenges posed by AB 2655. We urge lawmakers to adequately review AB 2655’s feasibility constraints and its potential consequences while exploring the targeted, reasonable approaches proposed under AB 2839 and AB 2355.”

“Since AB 2655 primarily targets covered platforms for enforcement, rather than addressing individuals intentionally disseminating deceptive content, its ability to effectively reduce the spread of election mis- and disinformation online is limited. Failing to hold accountable those who knowingly create and distribute misleading content perpetuates a cycle where online platforms continually contend with such material without proactively preventing its occurrence. Therefore, it is critical to create liability measures for those who are directly responsible for causing harm.”