Solutions sought for more secure AI systems

11 Dec 2018

In the USA, the Intelligence Advanced Research Project Activity (IARPA), the intelligence community research branch, has announced plans to run a TrojAI programme to 'seek innovative solutions for the detection of Trojans in artificial intelligence (AI)'. In a draft Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), the IARPA invited interested parties to provide comments on the proposed programme, and a call for proposals is expected to be launched at a later stage. AI systems rely on data and machine learning to perform certain functions. But attackers can 'disrupt the training pipeline and insert Trojan behaviour into the AI'. Such manipulation of the training data can cause the AI system to generate misleading or inaccurate results. Under the TrojAI programme, researchers will look for solutions to combat Trojan attacks by inspecting AI for trojans. The IARPA also posted a draft BAA for the Secure, Assured, Intelligent Learning Systems (SAILS) programme to seek solutions for creating machine learning (ML) and AI models robust to attacks against privacy. The solutions would allow the ML/AI model developers to trust that their trained models will not inadvertently reveal sensitive information.

Explore the issues

Privacy and data protection are two interrelated Internet governance issues. Data protection is a legal mechanism that ensures privacy. Privacy is usually defined as the right of any citizen to control their own personal information and to decide about it (to disclose information or not). Privacy is a fundamental human right. It is recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in many other international and regional human rights conventions. The July 2015 appointment of the first UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age reflects the rising importance of privacy in global digital policy, and the recognition of the need to address privacy rights issues the the global, as well as national levels.

Cybersecurity is among the main concerns of governments, Internet users, technical and business communities. Cyberthreats and cyberattacks are on the increase, and so is the extent of the financial loss. 

Yet, when the Internet was first invented, security was not a concern for the inventors. In fact, the Internet was originally designed for use by a closed circle of (mainly) academics. Communication among its users was open.

Cybersecurity came into sharper focus with the Internet expansion beyond the circle of the Internet pioneers. The Internet reiterated the old truism that technology can be both enabling and threatening. What can be used to the advantage of society can also be used to its disadvantage.


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