Senate approves AI regulation in election campaigns

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

A report advocating for the regulation of election campaigns conducted using artificial intelligence (AI) was approved by the Senate yesterday.

The Senate Committee on Politics compiled the report, which was presented during a meeting chaired by Senate Speaker Pornpetch Wichitcholchai. The report primarily focused on the use of social media in politics and election canvassing.

The Senate’s term will come to an end on May 11, marking the last meeting before the term concludes. Despite this, senators will continue to operate in a caretaking capacity until their successors are elected in the next few months.

The report underscored the challenges of regulating social media in foreign countries, the lack of awareness about the potential harm posed by social media, the limitations that certain political parties face when attempting to connect with voters via these platforms, the obstacles that prevent the Election Commission (EC) from enforcing poll-related laws, and the application of an outdated poll law in elections.

The EC was advised in the report to enhance the election law and associated regulations to keep pace with new technology-driven tools used in canvassing. Seree Suwanpanont, the senator who chairs the report committee, emphasised that the EC needed to keep up with rapidly evolving technology to prevent online social platforms from being manipulated by parties or individuals aiming to gain an unjust edge over competitors in elections.

The EC’s objective is to combat vote-buying and other illegal campaign practices, including those related to campaign design and election posters. However, the current election law does not include the regulation of social media as a tool for electioneering.

Seree highlighted that campaigns conducted on social media are more costly than traditional canvassing, yet they continue to operate without regulation.

“When there is no control, it leads to an unfair advantage.”

He added that the EC must ensure fair elections and a level playing field for all parties. The senator further recommended that the Digital Economy and Society Ministry should take action against distorted information, misuse of AI and the spread of misinformation, reported Bangkok Post.

Senator Anuporn Aroonrut predicted that information operations, such as doctored audio clips and AI, will become widespread in the imminent Senate election.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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