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US House Bans Microsoft's Copilot Over Data Security Concerns


Abstract

The US House of Representatives has imposed a strict ban on the use of Microsoft's AI-powered chatbot, Copilot, by its staffers due to concerns over potential data leakage to unapproved cloud services. This decision reflects ongoing efforts to balance the integration of AI technologies within the House while navigating security risks and developing regulations for the evolving AI sector. Microsoft plans to address these concerns by releasing a suite of AI tools tailored for government use, aiming to meet higher security and compliance standards.


 

The US House of Representatives has recently implemented a stringent prohibition on the utilization of Microsoft's AI-powered chatbot, Copilot, among its staffers. This decision comes following identification by the Office of Cybersecurity of potential risks associated with the application, particularly concerning the leakage of sensitive House data to unapproved cloud services. Consequently, the ban extends to the removal and blocking of Copilot from all House Windows devices. This move reflects the House's ongoing endeavor to navigate the internal integration of AI technologies while concurrently developing regulations for the swiftly evolving AI sector. Notably, the House had previously restricted the use of ChatGPT, allowing only the paid subscription version under specific conditions while banning the free version.


Microsoft Copilot, developed collaboratively with OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, is tailored to operate as a standalone chatbot for web and mobile platforms. Paid versions are seamlessly integrated into Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint. In response to the ban, Microsoft has articulated its intention to introduce a suite of AI tools customized for government use, with a focus on meeting the heightened security and compliance requisites of federal government entities. These tools are anticipated to be unveiled later in the year.


Guidance issued by the House's Chief Administrative Officer, Catherine Szpindor, explicitly specifies that the ban pertains to the commercial version of Copilot. However, the House intends to assess a government iteration of Copilot once it becomes available to ascertain its suitability for employment within the House. This decision underscores broader concerns among US authorities and corporations regarding the security ramifications of AI technologies, particularly regarding the inadvertent sharing of confidential information with unauthorized cloud services.

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