Subsequent to our May 2023 article looking at China and international plans for the regulation of AI, China’s Cyberspace Administration (CAC) formally issued the “Measures on the Administration of Generative Artificial Intelligence Services” (Measures).
The Measures build on policy/guideline announcements issued by the CAC, Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology that were issued in November 2022 and commenced operation in January 2023 - “Provisions on the Administration of Deep Synthesis Internet Information Services”. The Measures were reviewed and passed by the CAC this May, and have been published upon agreement with six government departments, such as the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Education. The Measures commence operation on 15 August 2023.
The Measures are applied to “services that utilize generative artificial intelligence technology to provide the public in the People's Republic of China with generated text, images, audio, video and other content”. However, “where the State otherwise provides for the use of generative artificial intelligence services for activities such as news publishing, film and television production, and literary and artistic creation, such provisions shall apply. The provisions of these Measures shall not apply to industrial organizations, enterprises, educational and scientific research institutions, public cultural institutions, and relevant professional institutions that develop and apply generative artificial intelligence technology and do not provide generative artificial intelligence services to the public within China.” - Article 2.
Further, Article 4 of the Measures offers outlines key areas of concern which AI developers should certainly keep in mind as they develop and promote AI systems. It provides that “the provision and use of the generative artificial intelligence services shall comply with the requirements of laws and regulations, respect social mores and good customs, and meet the following requirements:(1) Adhere to the core socialist values, and shall not generate content that is prohibited by laws and administrative regulations, such as inciting subversion of state power and overthrow of the socialist system, jeopardizing national security and interests, damaging the image of the country, inciting secession of the country, undermining national unity and social stability, promoting terrorism and extremism, promoting ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination, violence, obscenity and pornography, as well as false and harmful information, and so on;(2) In the process of algorithm design, training data selection, model generation and optimization, and provision of services, take effective measures to prevent discrimination arising from ethnicity, faith, country, region, gender, age, occupation, health, and so on;(3) Respect the intellectual property rights and business ethics, keep commercial secrets, and shall not take advantage of algorithms, data, platforms, and so on, to implement monopoly and unfair competition;(4) Respect the legitimate rights and interests of others, and shall not jeopardize the physical and mental health of others, or infringe upon their rights to portrait, reputation, honor, privacy and personal information;(5) Based on the characteristics of service types, take effective measures to enhance the transparency of the generative artificial intelligence services and improve the accuracy and reliability of generated content.”
Of concern to foreign AI developers is Article 17 of the Measures. It provides that the provision of the generative artificial intelligence services with public opinion attributes or social mobilization capabilities shall carry out safety assessment in accordance with relevant state regulations, and perform algorithmic filing and change and cancellation filing procedures in accordance with the "Provisions on the Administration of Algorithm-generated Recommendations for Internet Information Services".
In accordance with Articles 24-26 of the said "Provisions on the Administration of Algorithm-generated Recommendations for Internet Information Services", “algorithmic recommendation service providers with the public opinion attributes or social mobilization capabilities shall, within ten working days from the date of service provision, fill in the name of the service provider, service forms, application areas, algorithm types, algorithm self-assessment reports, the content to be disclosed and other information through the Internet Information service algorithm filing system to fulfill the filing procedures. In case the algorithm recommendation service provider's filing information changes, it shall fulfill the change procedures within ten working days from the date of change. In case the algorithm recommendation service providers terminates the service, it shall fill for the cancellation procedures within twenty working days from the date of termination and make appropriate arrangements.”
The review for the said recordal above shall take 30 working days provided that all the filling material are submitted as requested, and issue the recordal number and make the publication thereof. Service providers that complete the said recordal shall mark its recordal number and provide the link to publicity information in a prominent position of its website or application that provides services. Article 20 of the Measures shouold be noted as well, as it allows CAC to enforce the Measures as need be.
In conclusion, if a provider of the generative artificial intelligence services intends to provide such services within China, whether the provider itself is located in China or not, it is suggested that they study the Measures carefully, especially the provision regarding recordal requirements, in order to avoid unnecessary legal risks.