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Italy considers tougher penalties for AI-related crimes

Post Time:2024-04-10 Source:Reuters Author:Elvira Pollina and Angelo Amante Views:

MILAN/ROME, April 9 (Reuters) - Italy's government is mulling tougher penalties for crimes using Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools including market rigging and money laundering, according to a draft law bill seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

The 25-article draft bill lays down general principles "on research, experimentation, development, adoption and application" of AI in Italy, to cope with "the impact on fundamental rights" and related economic and social risks.

The document, whose content is still subject to change, envisages use of such tools in the health sector and in the judiciary, focusing on its impact on job conditions. It also sets the ground for a national AI strategy.

The draft beefs up penalties for market rigging through AI tools and stipulates that the use of AI for money laundering represents an aggravating element.

It also sets out fines for copyright violations through AI and a jail term of up to three years for those who employ such tools to replace other persons, potentially targeting harmful deepfakes.

Italy currently holds the rotating chair of the Group of Seven (G7) major democracies. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has said AI will be among the key issues of the 2024 presidency which will culminate in a leaders' summit in the middle of June.

AI has also become a crucial issue in the European Union. The bloc is moving closer to adopting the world's first rules on such tools, which will have to comply with specific transparency obligations and EU copyright laws.

In March, Meloni said she was planning to set up an investment fund to promote AI projects with an initial endowment of 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion). The fund could raise a further 2 billion euros from the private sector.

Italy's cabinet is expected to give an initial green light to the bill by the end of April, two government sources said.

The proposal will then be pushed through parliament for any further revisions and final approval before becoming effective.