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AI Watch: Global regulatory tracker

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Keeping track of AI regulatory developments around the world.

The global dash to regulate AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) has made enormous strides in recent years and has increasingly moved into the public consciousness.

Increases in computational power, coupled with advances in machine learning, have fueled the rapid rise of AI. This has brought enormous opportunities, as new AI applications have given rise to new ways of doing business. It has also brought potential risks, from unintended impacts on individuals (e.g., AI errors harming an individual's credit score or public reputation) to the risk of misuse of AI by malicious third parties (e.g., by manipulating AI systems to produce inaccurate or misleading output, or by using AI to create deepfakes).

Governments and regulatory bodies around the world have had to act quickly to try to ensure that their regulatory frameworks do not become obsolete. In addition, international organizations such as the G7, the UN, the Council of Europe and the OECD have responded to this technological shift by issuing their own AI frameworks. But they are all scrambling to stay abreast of technological developments, and already there are signs that emerging efforts to regulate AI will struggle to keep pace. In an effort to introduce some degree of international consensus, the UK government organized the first global AI Safety Summit in November 2023, with the aim of encouraging the safe and responsible development of AI around the world. 

Most jurisdictions have sought to strike a balance between encouraging AI innovation and investment, while at the same time attempting to create rules to protect against possible harms. However, jurisdictions around the world have taken substantially different approaches to achieving these goals, which has in turn increased the risk that businesses face from a fragmented and inconsistent AI regulatory environment. Nevertheless, certain trends are becoming clearer at this stage:

  1. "AI" means different things in different jurisdictions: One of the foundational challenges that any international business faces when designing an AI regulatory compliance strategy is figuring out what constitutes "AI." Unfortunately, the definition of AI varies from one jurisdiction to the next. For example, the draft text of the EU AI Act adopts a definition of "AI systems" that is based on (but is not identical to) the OECD's definition, and which leaves room for substantial doubt due to its uncertain wording. Canada has proposed a similar, though more concise, definition. Various US states have proposed their own definitions, which differ from one another. And many jurisdictions (e.g., the UK, Israel, China, and Japan) do not currently provide a comprehensive definition of AI. Because several of the proposed AI regulations have extraterritorial effect (meaning more than one AI regulation may apply simultaneously), international businesses may be forced to adopt a "highest common denominator" approach to identifying AI based on the strictest applicable standard.
  2. Emerging AI regulations come in different forms: The various emerging AI regulations have no consistent legal form – some are statutes, some are executive orders, some are expansions of existing regulatory frameworks, and so on. The EU AI Act is a "Regulation" (which means that most of it will apply directly in all EU Member States, without the need for national implementation in most cases). The UK has taken a different approach, declining to legislate at this early stage in the development of AI, and instead choosing to task existing UK regulators with the responsibility of interpreting and applying five AI principles in their respective spheres. In the US, there is a mix of White House Executive Orders, federal and state initiatives, and actions by existing regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission. As a result, the types of compliance obligations that international businesses face are likely to be materially different from one jurisdiction to the next. Many other jurisdictions have yet to decide whether they will issue sector-specific or generally applicable rules and have yet to decide between creating new regulators or expanding the roles of existing regulators, making it challenging for businesses to anticipate what form their AI regulatory relationships will take in the long term.
  3. Emerging AI regulations have different conceptual approaches: The next difficulty is the lack of a consistent conceptual approach among emerging AI regulations around the world – some are legally binding while others are not, some are sector-specific while others apply across all sectors, some will be enforced by regulators while others are merely guidelines or recommendations, and so on. As noted above, the UK approach is to use existing regulators to implement five AI principles, but with no new explicit legal obligations. This has the advantage of meaning that businesses will deal with AI regulators with whom they are already familiar but has the disadvantage that different UK regulators may interpret these principles differently in their respective spheres. The EU AI Act is cross-sectoral and creates new regulatory and enforcement powers for existing bodies, including the European Commission, and also creates entirely new bodies such as the AI Board and the AI Office, while leaving EU Member States to appoint their own AI regulators tasked with enforcing the AI Act. In the US, the Federal Trade Commission, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Department of Justice issued a joint statement clarifying that their existing authority covers AI, while various state regulators are also likely to have competence to regulate AI. International organizations including the OECD, the UN, and the G7 have issued AI principles, but these impose no legal obligations on businesses. In principle, these initiatives encourage consistency across members of each organization, but in practice this does not seem to have worked.
  4. Flexibility is a double-edged sword: In an effort to create AI regulations that can adapt to technological advances that have not yet been anticipated, many jurisdictions have sought to include substantial flexibility in those regulations, either by using deliberately high-level wording and policies, or by allowing for future interpretation and application by courts and regulators. This has the obvious advantage of prolonging the lifespan of such regulations by allowing them to be adapted to future technologies. However, it also creates the disadvantage of uncertainty because it leaves businesses uncertain of how their compliance obligations will be interpreted in the future. This is likely to mean that it is harder for businesses to know whether their planned implementations of AI will be lawful in the medium-to-long term and may make it harder to attract long-term AI investment in those jurisdictions.
  5. The overlap between AI regulation and other areas of law is complex: A substantial number of laws that are not directly focused on AI nevertheless apply to AI by association within their respective spheres, meaning that any use of AI will often trigger compliance issues and legal challenges even where there is not (yet) any enforceable AI-specific law. These areas of overlap include: IP (e.g., IP infringement issues with respect to AI model training data, and questions about copyright and patentability of AI-assisted inventions); antitrust; data protection (which adds restrictions to processing of personal data, and in some cases imposes special compliance obligations for processing carried out by automated means, including by AI); M&A (where AI innovation is driving dealmaking in many markets); financial regulation (where financial regulatory requirements may limit the ways in which AI can lawfully be deployed); litigation; digital infrastructure; securities; global trade; foreign direct investment; mining & metals; and so on. This overlap will mean that many businesses need to understand not just AI regulations in general, but also any rules that affect the use of AI in the context of the relevant sector or business activity.

Businesses in almost all sectors need to keep a close eye on these developments to ensure that they are aware of the AI regulations and forthcoming trends, in order to identify new opportunities and new potential business risks. But even at this early stage, the inconsistent approaches each jurisdiction has taken to the core questions of how to regulate AI is clear. As a result, it appears that international businesses may face substantially different AI regulatory compliance challenges in different parts of the world. To that end, this AI Tracker is designed to provide businesses with an understanding of the state of play of AI regulations in the core markets in which they operate. It provides analysis of the approach that each jurisdiction has taken to AI regulation and provides helpful commentary on the likely direction of travel.

Because global AI regulations remain in a constant state of flux, this AI Tracker will develop over time, adding updates and new jurisdictions when appropriate. Stay tuned, as we continue to provide insights to help businesses navigate these ever-evolving issues.

Articles

Australia

Voluntary AI Ethics Principles guide responsible AI development in Australia, with potential reforms under consideration.

Australia

Brazil

The enactment of Brazil's proposed AI Regulation remains uncertain with compliance requirements pending review.

Sao Paulo

Canada

AIDA expected to regulate AI at the federal level in Canada but provincial legislatures have yet to be introduced.

Canada

China

The Interim AI Measures is China's first specific, administrative regulation on the management of generative AI services.

China

Council of Europe

The Council of Europe is developing a new Convention on AI to safeguard human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in the digital space covering governance, accountability and risk assessment.

European Union

European Union

The EU introduces the pioneering EU AI Act, aiming to become a global hub for human-centric, trustworthy AI.

 

European Union

France

France actively participates in international efforts and the EU AI Act negotiations, and proposes sector-specific laws.

Paris

G7

The G7's AI regulations mandate Member States' compliance with international human rights law and relevant international frameworks.

G7 flags

Germany

Germany evaluates AI-specific legislation needs and actively engages in international initiatives.

Germany

India

National frameworks inform India’s approach to AI regulation, with sector-specific initiatives in finance and health sectors.

India

Israel

Israel promotes responsible AI innovation through policy and sector-specific guidelines to address core issues and ethical principles.

Israel

Italy

Italy plays a prominent role in EU AI Act negotiations and engages in political discussions for future laws.

Milan

Japan

Japan adopts a soft law approach to AI governance but lawmakers advance proposal for a hard law approach to generative AI foundation models.

Tokyo

Norway

Position paper informs Norwegian approach to AI, with sector-specific legislative amendments to regulate developments in AI.

Norway

OECD

The OECD's AI recommendations encourage Member States to uphold principles of trustworthy AI.

country flags

Singapore

Singapore's AI frameworks guide AI ethical and governance principles, with existing sector-specific regulations addressing AI risks.

Singapore

Spain

Spain creates Europe's first AI supervisory agency and actively participates in EU AI Act negotiations.

Madrid

Switzerland

Switzerland's National AI Strategy sets out guidelines for the use of AI, and aims to finalize an AI regulatory proposal in 2025.

Switzerland

Taiwan

Draft laws and guidelines are under consideration in Taiwan, with sector-specific initiatives already in place.

Taiwan city

United Kingdom

The UK prioritizes a flexible framework over comprehensive regulation and emphasizes sector-specific laws.

London hero image

United Nations

The UN's new draft resolution on AI encourages Member States to implement national regulatory and governance approaches for a global consensus on safe, secure and trustworthy AI systems.

United Nations

United States

The US relies on existing federal laws and guidelines to regulate AI but aims to introduce AI legislation and a federal regulation authority.

New York city photo

Contacts

Tim Hickman
Partner
London
Erin Hanson
Partner
New York
Dr. Sylvia Lorenz
Partner
Berlin
Paris

AI Watch: Global regulatory tracker - France

France actively participates in international efforts and the EU AI Act negotiations, and proposes sector-specific laws.

Insight
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10 min read

Laws/Regulations directly regulating AI (the “AI Regulations”)

Currently, there are no specific laws, statutory rules, or regulations in France that directly regulate AI. France is not expected to enact its own comprehensive AI regulation because (as for all EU Member States) the EU AI Act is expected to fulfill this function. However, France is likely to regulate AI on a sector-specific basis. For example:

  • There is a legislative proposal to amend the copyright provisions of the French Intellectual Property Code (IPC) to properly account for AI.1
  • The French data protection agency (the Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL)) established the Artificial Intelligence Service to address questions relating to the relationship between AI and data protection. The CNIL has also published an AI Action Plan (May 2023) and a series of AI "how-to sheets," intended to provide clarifications and recommendations for the development of AI systems.2
  • In 2017, the French government launched the National AI Strategy as part of "France 2030." The National AI Strategy is divided into two phases. The first phase aimed to provide France with competitive AI research capacities (2018-2022). The second phase aims to disseminate AI within the economy, and to support development in priority areas (2021-2025), which led to, several calls for AI projects, for example:3
    • The Call for Trusted Artificial Intelligence Demonstrators (DIAC) (operated by Bpifrance). The aim of this project is to support the development of hardware, software, and system innovations aimed at maturing and demonstrating critical functional systems integrating trusted artificial intelligence (in fields such as safety and security, robustness, explicability, ethics, etc.).
    • The Second wave of the Demonstrators of Artificial Intelligence in Territories (DIAT) call for projects (operated by the Banque des Territoires). The aim of this project is to support technology demonstrator projects based on data science and artificial intelligence responding to territorial challenges.
    • Relaunch of the Technological Maturation and Demonstration of Embedded Artificial Intelligence Technologies call for projects (operated by Bpifrance). The aim of this project is to develop and test embedded AI solutions under real-life conditions. It also supports the development of advanced hardware architectures for deploying algorithms on embedded systems.
    • Call for projects Digital Commons for Generative AI. The aim of this project is to build and make Digital Commons available for Generative AI.
    • Call for projects IA Booster France 2030. This project is aimed at French small and medium sized enterprises and intermediate sized enterprises in all sectors. Priority is given to companies with between ten and 2,000 employees and sales in excess of 250,000 euros.4
    • IA-cluster call for projects. The aim of this project is to establish five to ten universities/schools as global leaders in AI. The objective is to position at least three French institutions in the world's Top-50 universities in the field of AI.5
  • The Generative AI Committee was inaugurated on September 19, 2023. This Committee brings together stakeholders from different sectors (cultural, economic, technological, research), to help inform government decisions and make France a country at the forefront of the AI revolution.

Status of the AI Regulations

The EU AI Act is addressed separately here: AI watch: Global regulatory tracker - European Union

As noted above, there are currently no specific laws or regulations in France that directly regulate AI, and the EU AI Act will (once finalized) apply in France. However:

  • The IPC amendment was proposed to the French National Assembly in September 2023 (as discussed above)
  • While the CNIL intends to regulate AI, it has not yet published any draft laws or regulations

Other laws affecting AI

There are various laws that do not directly seek to regulate AI, but may affect the development or use of AI in France. A non-exhaustive list of key examples includes:

  • The Law for a Digital Republic
  • French antitrust and competition law, especially the Commercial Code
  • The Public Health Code
  • Laws relating to data protection and the GDPR
  • Civil and product liability laws (as far as they can concern AI systems)
  • Security and cybersecurity legislation
  • Intellectual property laws may affect several aspects of AI development and use

These French laws are not specifically intended to regulate AI but may have an impact on the development or use of AI in France.

Definition of “AI”

As noted above, there are no laws that directly regulate AI in France. Accordingly, there is currently no single legally recognized definition of "AI" in France.

Nonetheless, the sector-specific developments outlined above may provide some indication as to how France may, in the future, legally define "AI":

  • The IPC amendment does not explicitly define "AI."6 The preamble states that AI is "an ecosystem which is advancing by leaps and bounds," and that in the face of this phenomenon, "the legislator must imperatively protect authors and artists of creation and interpretation according to a humanist principle, in legal accord with the [IPC]".
  • The CNIL has defined "AI" as: "a logical and automated process that is usually based on an algorithm and can perform well-defined tasks." According to the CNIL, "[f]or the European Parliament, artificial intelligence is any tool used by a machine to "reproduce human-related behaviour, such as reasoning, planning and creativity". More specifically, the European Commission considers that AI includes:
    • Machine-learning approaches
    • Logic- and knowledge-based approaches
    • Statistical approaches, Bayesian estimation, and search and optimization methods"7
  • France's political initiatives have not specifically defined "AI," but an AI strategy is being put in place because "AI enables substantial gains in competitiveness or productivity in all sectors of the economy and in public services. Data science, machine learning and robotics thus form the matrix of the 4th industrial revolution."8

Territorial scope

As noted above, France is not expected to enact its own comprehensive national AI regulation. Accordingly, any specific territorial scope would be limited to the sector-specific developments identified above. For example:

  • The proposed IPC amendment applies at a national level.9
  • The CNIL's main focus is AI regulation, in particular, to support innovative players in the AI ecosystem in France and Europe. According to the CNIL, "[its] AI regulation aims to bring out, promote and help prosper actors in a framework that is faithful to the values of protecting French and European fundamental rights and freedoms."10

Sectoral scope

As noted above, France is not expected to enact its own comprehensive national AI regulation. Nevertheless, and as noted above, there have been sector-specific developments:

  • The proposed IPC amendment is intended to encourage AI systems to respect copyright by establishing a framework to protect the rights of artists and authors. The IPC amendment applies to the exploitation of AI-generated works.
  • The CNIL's action plan aims to promote the development of privacy-friendly AI. The plan has a large sectoral scope (including health, education, etc.).11
  • National policy initiatives concern the AI ecosystem at all stages of development (research, development and innovation, applications, market launch and cross-sector dissemination, deployment support and guidance).

Compliance roles

As noted above, France is not expected to enact its own comprehensive national AI regulation.

Nevertheless, the CNIL has issued guidance aimed at providers, operators, and end-users of AI systems.12 These parties would also be required to comply with the obligations set out in the proposed IPC amendment.13

The national strategy promotes aims to equip France with competitive research capabilities, and to disseminate AI technologies throughout the economy. Students are encouraged to train themselves, and all concerned individuals will need to place education among the best internationally in AI research and training. Similarly, developers or deployers of AI systems will have to promote their dissemination, notably through the development of trusted and high-performing solutions.

Core issues that the AI Regulations seek to address

  • The EU AI Act is likely to address many of the usual core issues, and that detail is not discussed here. Focusing on the sector-specific developments, the CNIL's AI Action Plan (May 2023) aims to address the following issues:
    • The lack of understanding of the functioning of AI systems, and their impacts on individuals
    • Compliance with the GDPR (especially for the training of Generative AI)
    • The potential monopolization of AI innovation
    • The lack of control over AI14
  • The proposed IPC amendment aims to address the use of copyrighted works in developing and operating AI systems; and authorship and copyright ownership issues in AI-generated works.

Risk categorization

As noted above, there are currently no specific laws or regulations directly governing AI in France. The EU AI Act will introduce its own system of risk categorization. However:

  • The proposed IPC amendment imposes strict control over the exploitation of AI-generated works, without categorizing them according to risk.
  • The CNIL's AI Action Plan does not set out an AI-related system of risk categorization.
  • Finally, the national strategy for AI does not appear to take a risk-based approach either.

Key compliance requirements

As noted above, France is not expected to enact its own comprehensive national AI regulation.

Nevertheless, regarding the sector-specific development:

  • Under the proposed IPC amendment, developers, deployers and users of AI systems will have to ensure that they:
    • Obtain authorization to use the right-holders work to develop the AI-generated content
    • Assign ownership of any fully AI-generated work to the authors/right holders
    • Comply with any transparency obligations requiring AI-generated work. In accordance with the proposed IPC amendment, the exploitation of AI-generated works should be strictly controlled15
  • Per the CNIL's guidance, AI developers, deployers and users will have to:
    • Determine the applicable legal regime
    • Define the purpose for processing data
    • Determine the legal qualification of AI system providers
    • Ensure the lawfulness of the data processing
    • Carry out a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) when necessary
    • Take data protection into account
    • Account for data protection regulation in the collection and management of data

Regulators

The CNIL is expected to take a central role in the regulation and oversight of AI in France, having created a dedicated AI department and published an AI Action Plan.16

France has appointed a "national coordinator for AI" who will be responsible for inter-ministerial coordination of the national AI strategy.

Enforcement powers and penalties

As noted above, France is not expected to enact its own comprehensive national AI regulation. Accordingly, enforcement and penalties relating to the creation, dissemination and/or use of AI are governed by: (i) the EU AI Act; and (ii) related violations in non AI-specific regulation.

In addition, Article 4 of the proposed IPC amendment imposes a tax on the operators of AI systems where a work is generated by AI based on another work with unidentifiable origins. The proposed IPC amendment also stipulates that this tax will be imposed on the company operating the artificial intelligence system used to generate the said "artificial work."17

1 The IPC's legislative proposal is available here.
2 The CNIL's AI Action Plan is
available here; how-to sheets are available here; and guidance on developing, training, or using AI systems is available here.
3 The National AI Strategy is
available here
4 The French government's AI Booster France 2030 program is
available here.
5 The AI-cluster action plan is
available here.
6 The IPC's legislative proposal is
available here.
7 The CNIL's AI Action Plan is
available here; know-how sheets are available here; and guidance on developing, training, or using AI systems is available here.
8 The France government's AI Booster France 2030 program is
available here, and the AI-cluster action plan is available here.
9 The IPC's legislative proposal is
available here.
10 Please
see here, objective 3: "Federal and support innovative players in the AI ecosystem in France and Europe". 
11 The CNIL's AI Action Plan is
available here.
12 Guidance on developing, training, or using AI systems is
available here.
13 The IPC's legislative proposal is
available here.
14 The CNIL's AI Action Plan is
available here. The CNIL's four key objectives are: (i) understanding the functioning of AI systems and their impacts for people; (ii) enabling and guiding the development of AI that respects personal data; (iii) federating and supporting innovative players in the AI ecosystem in France and Europe; and (iv) auditing and controlling AI systems and protecting people.
15 The IPC's legislative proposal is
available here
16 The CNIL's AI Action Plan is
available here.
17 The IPC's legislative proposal is
available here.

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This article is prepared for the general information of interested persons. It is not, and does not attempt to be, comprehensive in nature. Due to the general nature of its content, it should not be regarded as legal advice.

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