September-October 2020

Navigating Artificial Intelligence and Consumer Protection Laws in Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law
Kwamina Thomas Williford | Anthony E. DiResta | Esther D. Clovis

Attorneys Kwamina Thomas Williford, Anthony DiResta and Esther Clovis co-authored an article analyzing a statement from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reaffirming that consumer protection laws, traditionally applied to human activities or decision-making technologies, equally apply to artificial intelligence (AI). Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, AI and innovation have played a central role in adapting to remote work, aiding healthcare workers, employing contract tracing and much more. However, this new wave of AI use also brings significant implications for consumer protections, and the FTC statement makes clear that these protections will be enforced in connection with AI.

The article breaks down the statement, addressing topics including Section 5 of the FTC Act’s prohibition against unfair and deceptive acts, equal protection laws, and laws affecting consumer access to credit, employment and insurance. The authors also discuss key principles for managing consumer protection risks presented by AI.

READ: Navigating Artificial Intelligence and Consumer Protection Laws in Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

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