Italy proactive in AI and information rights, Europe should follow says RSF

As Europe readies for elections, Italy is working on legislation to regulate the research and use of AI. 

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Italy is taking a proactive approach to artificial intelligence (AI) and information rights, with the government working on a bill to regulate the development and use of AI. This new law, if and when adopted, would bolster Italians’ right to trustworthy information by fighting fake digital content and other forms of misinformation. AI systems would be required to protect the integrity and plurality of information, and the law would impose criminal penalties for disseminating harmful deepfakes. 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has welcomed this ambitious law, which, if passed in its current form, will increase Italians’ right to trustworthy information, particularly in combating deepfakes. Arthur Grimonpont, head of RSF’s AI and Global Challenges, stated that ‘the measures proposed by Italy to regulate AI in the online information arena are promising and we urge governments, and first of all those of the EU, to draw inspiration from them.’

Why does it matter?

The Italian government is currently considering legislation on AI, including 25 articles. The draft law outlines general principles for AI research, development, adoption, and application, focusing on the impact on fundamental rights and socioeconomic issues. In line with RSF’s advice, the bill also aims to impose stricter penalties for AI-related crimes such as market manipulation, money laundering, and corruption.

As the G7 Presidency holder, Italy has made AI one of its priorities. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni recently announced the creation of a 1 billion euro investment fund to support AI companies, with an additional 2 billion euros coming from the private sector.

The Italian cabinet could endorse the first draft by the end of April 2024, with the final law having to be approved through the parliamentary process.

Italy is making significant strides in AI legislation and investment, which could serve as a model for other European countries to follow. The European Parliament recently passed the AI Act, the world’s first comprehensive AI legislation based on a risk-based framework and specific transparency obligations.

The Italian government’s draft law on AI and its investment programs demonstrate a proactive approach to managing the ethical, legal, and human rights challenges posed by AI technologies.