November 09,2023

Crapo, Wyden Press Federal Agencies on Use of Artificial Intelligence

Finance Committee leaders press CBP, DHS and HHS for information to ensure use of AI is effective and fair

Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Chair Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) have requested information from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) on how the agencies are employing the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and what steps they are taking to ensure the technology is used appropriately.

“As technological innovations such as AI are used more frequently by government agencies, it is important for us to gain a better understanding of AI applications within the Finance Committee’s jurisdiction,” said Crapo.

“As is frequently the case with new technology, AI provides us with exciting opportunities to better serve the American people, but we’re only beginning to see the consequences of leaving these systems unchecked,” said Wyden.  “The federal government has a responsibility to ensure the systems it is using to make decisions that impact Americans’ daily lives are doing so accurately and without harmful bias.”

In their letter to CBP, Crapo and Wyden noted the powerful potential of this technology to speed legitimate trade and focus enforcement resources on catching trade cheats.  However, as part of their oversight responsibilities, they sought additional information about how exactly CBP is using this technology to carry out activities such as cargo screenings at borders, screening of small packages at postal facilities, compliance and more. 

In their letter to HHS, Crapo and Wyden pressed for information on how the agency is using AI to filter through and synthesize vast amounts of data to support program management, administration and care. 

Both letters also press for details on what--if any--guardrails have been put in place to help identify and correct any algorithmic bias found in the technology these federal agencies are using.

The text of the letter to CBP and DHS can be found here.

The text of the letter to HHS can be found here.