US Congress bans the use of Microsoft AI solution Copilot

Stop - Pixabay[German]Microsoft is sticking to its plans to roll out Copilot to users in all kinds of products, from Windows to Office. However, the US House of Representatives has issued a strict ban on the use of Microsoft Copilot by its employees. This is the next blow to Microsoft's AI solution, while a ban on the use of the free version of ChatGPT by employees was already enacted in June 2023. Only the paid version was permitted within certain limits. The background to this is that Microsoft's Copilot is considered a security risk because there is a danger that data from the House of Representatives will be passed on to cloud services not approved by the House of Representatives.


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If we believe Microsoft's announcements, the world is hungry for its AI solutions such as ChatGPT and now Microsoft Copilot. This will be integrated into Windows (currently still as an unfinished preview) and will also come with Microsoft 365 in all Office applications. According to Microsoft's marketing strategists, Copilot's fee-based services are set to make a lot of money.

Hope for use in US authorities

Microsoft is of course also hoping that its Copilot solution can be used in various US authorities and especially in the US Congress. After the IT administration of the US House of Representatives issued a ban on the use of the free version of ChatGPT by employees back in June 2023 – only the paid version was permitted on a limited basis – Microsoft hoped that this ban would now be lifted.

A Microsoft spokesperson told US media outlet Axios: "We recognize that government users have higher security requirements for their data. That's why we've announced a roadmap of Microsoft AI tools like Copilot that meet the security and compliance requirements of federal agencies and are scheduled to ship later this year." A little bit of paper, then it will work, was the motto of Microsoft Marketing.

The US Congress has banned Copilot

Instead of waving the whole thing through, the US Congress has pulled the emergency brake. The whole thing was first picked up by Axios in this article. Catherine Szpindor, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of the House of Representatives, writes in a guide for Congressional offices, obtained by Axios, that Microsoft Copilot is not authorized for use in the House of Representatives. Specifically, it says: "The Microsoft Copilot application has been classified by the Office of Cybersecurity as a risk to users due to the risk of House of Representatives data being shared with cloud services not authorized by the House of Representatives," it says.

The guide states that Copilot "will be removed and blocked from all in-house Windows devices". Microsoft Copilot is available in a free version and a subscription version. According to the guide, this applies "to the commercial version" of Copilot. The CAO's office told Axios that they "will evaluate the government version [of Copilot] when it becomes available and make a decision on deployment at that time."


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It doesn't look as if this co-pilot stuff or AI solutions will make a breakthrough. This is because many US authorities are likely to have security concerns about the much-vaunted AI models. Many companies also see this as a problem, with concerns that confidential information will flow to AI solutions such as ChaptGPT or Copilot and thus into the cloud. In April 2023, I reported on the case of Samsung engineers unintentionally leaking confidential internal information to ChatGPT in the German blog post ChatGPT: Fabuliermaschine und Plappermaul für Firmengeheimnisse.


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