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US Targets China with Proposed Rules on Cloud Giants in AI Development

 |  January 29, 2024

In a move signaling a deepening tech conflict between the United States and China, the Biden administration has proposed stringent regulations on major cloud service providers, including industry giants Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. The proposed rules aim to compel these companies to identify and actively investigate foreign clients engaged in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) applications on their platforms.

Released on Monday, the proposal mandates cloud service providers to disclose the names and IP addresses of foreign customers utilizing their platforms for AI development. If implemented, this measure could significantly impede Chinese firms’ access to crucial data centers and servers essential for training and hosting AI applications, reported Bloomberg.

The draft rule, published on Sunday, outlines that companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Alphabet Inc.’s Google must establish a process for collecting and reporting the details of foreign clients, specifically focusing on any suspicious activities related to AI development.

These requirements place a substantial burden on cloud service providers, akin to the strict “know-your-customer” rules governing the financial industry. The responsibility of collecting, storing, and analyzing customer data would fall on these tech giants, potentially altering their current business dynamics.

Read more: Google Files New Antitrust Complaint Against Microsoft Azure

US cloud providers have expressed concerns about potential restrictions on their interactions with overseas users, fearing that such measures without parallel actions by allied countries could disadvantage American firms in the global tech market.

While representatives for Amazon and Google have not provided comments on the proposal, Fred Humphries, Vice President of Government Affairs at Microsoft, expressed the company’s willingness to comply with know-your-customer and cybersecurity requirements for AI infrastructure. Humphries stated that Microsoft looks forward to providing input on the draft rule.

China’s rapid development of AI and other next-generation technologies has become a primary concern for the Biden administration, viewing Beijing as a key global strategic competitor. Secretary Gina Raimondo highlighted the focus on eliminating national security threats posed by AI development, particularly targeting firms based in China. Washington, having previously worked to limit Beijing’s access to advanced semiconductors, now seeks to curtail Chinese firms’ ability to develop AI applications with potential military capabilities.

Secretary Raimondo emphasized the potential dangers of AI models falling into the hands of non-state actors or entities not aligned with the interests of the United States. As the tech conflict between the two superpowers escalates, the proposed regulations on cloud service providers underscore the administration’s commitment to safeguarding national security in the realm of artificial intelligence.

Source: News Bloomberg Law