The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released new policies to ensure the agency’s responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI). 

The policies, developed by the DHS Artificial Intelligence Task Force (AITF), are said to build on a commitment from the Biden-Harris Administration to manage the risk and harness the benefits of AI. 

The DHS leverages AI-enabled technologies to combat fentanyl trafficking, strengthen supply chain security, counter child sexual exploitation, protect critical infrastructure, among other federal law enforcement operations. 

These new policies establish key principles for the responsible use of AI and specify how DHS will ensure that its use of face recognition and face capture technologies is subject to extensive testing and oversight, according to an announcement. 

“Artificial intelligence is a powerful tool we must harness effectively and responsibly,” stated Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “Our Department must continue to keep pace with this rapidly evolving technology, and do so in a way that is transparent and respectful of the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of everyone we serve.

Under the new principles, DHS will “only acquire the use of AI in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution and all other applicable laws and policies.” 

Mayorkas’ memo, released Sept. 14, further decrees that DHS “will not collect, use, or disseminate data used in AI activities, or establish AI-enabled systems that make or support decisions based on the inappropriate consideration of race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, nationality, medical condition, or disability.” 

The new guidelines also include a directive that calls for the use of all facial recognition and face capture technology to be “thoroughly tested to ensure there is no unintended bias.” 

DHS will review the existing use of AI technology, and conduct periodic testing and evaluation of all systems, according to the announcement. 

The department also announced that Chief Information Officer Eric Hysen will serve as its first chief AI officer. In that role, Hysen will promote AI innovation and safety at DHS, and advise Mayorkas and department leadership on AI issues.