National Framework for the Assurance of Artificial Intelligence in Government released

June 27, 2024

On 21 June, the Data and Digital Ministers Meeting (comprising Ministers from the Commonwealth and each State and Territory) released the National Framework for the Assurance of Artificial Intelligence in Government.

You can see the Framework here and related documentation here.

The Framework sets out how Australian governments should align their practices to Australia’s 8 AI Ethics Principles, which are part of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Ethics Framework released by the Department of Industry, Science and Resources in November 2019 (see here). See also the information from the Digital Transformation Agency on the process leading to the Framework, and the next steps, here.

The statement from the Data and Digital Ministers (here) says:

We recognise that public confidence and trust is essential to governments embracing the opportunities and realising the full potential of AI. To gain public confidence and trust, we commit to being exemplars in the safe and responsible use of AI. This requires a lawful, ethical approach that places the rights, wellbeing and interests of people first.

This national framework for the assurance of AI in government is a key step towards gaining public confidence and trust in the safe and responsible use of AI by Australia’s governments.

The Framework does not directly address the use of other people’s content in connection with AI, particularly Generative AI. However, ethical practices include fair treatment of people whose content is used in connection with development, deployment and use of AI systems, products and tools. This has not been the case with some developments overseas, particularly foundation large language models (LLMs), in which Australians’ works have been used without consent or compensation. To build confidence and trust, Australian governments need to address this, particularly for products and services available in Australia that use outputs (such as language models) of those overseas developments (see recent comments by the Industry Minister here).

Australia’s copyright system is well set up to enable Australian governments to develop AI-related products and services in Australia using third party content. Governments have a role in demonstrating best practice in relation to the use of third party content , and using mechanisms available to them (such as funding) to promote best practice in the Australian community.