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AI and Crimes: The Criminal Provisions of the Italian Draft Law on Artificial Intelligence

posted 1 month ago

The 23rd of April, the Government approved the Draft Law ‘Principles regarding artificial intelligence’, which foresees, on a criminal level, a range of offenses committed with the use of artificial intelligence systems, some aggravating circumstances for existing offenses committed with the use of artificial intelligence, and the commitment to align national regulations with the AI Act within twelve months, after obtaining the opinion of the relevant parliamentary commissions and the Data Protection Authority.

Principles and guiding criteria of the Draft Law.

The Draft Law has established that precautionary measures and effective, proportionate, and dissuasive sanctions will be implemented to inhibit and take down the dissemination of content illicitly created even with artificial intelligence systems.

Additional and autonomous criminal offenses will also be envisaged to protect specific legal interests exposed to risks due to the use of artificial intelligence systems that cannot be adequately protected through interventions on existing offenses.

A special aggravating circumstance will also be introduced for crimes in which the use of artificial intelligence systems significantly impacts the offense to the protected legal interest, including cases of offense to personal and state property. To achieve these aims, a review of the existing substantive and procedural regulations will be carried out. Furthermore, offenses committed with the use of artificial intelligence and aggravating circumstances for existing offenses will be provided for in cases where the offense is committed with the use of artificial intelligence.

Crimes Committed with the Use of AI.

Failure to adopt security measures for the production, sale, circulation, and professional use of AI systems.

The introduction of one or more autonomous offenses is envisaged, not yet defined, relating to combating the failure to adopt or the failure to adapt security measures by the manufacturer for the production, circulation, and professional use of artificial intelligence systems.

Offense of reproduction without right of text or data from online works or databases protected by copyright by the use of AI systems.

The offense of reproduction or extraction, without right, of text or data from works or other materials available online or in databases for any purpose and in any form, will be punishable even when carried out by artificial intelligence systems. The provision is inserted in Article 171, paragraph 1, of Law No. 633 of April 22, 1941, and is therefore envisaged as a violation punishable by a fine only, although the conduct can seriously harm the rights holders. It is hoped that the continuation of parliamentary debate will lead to effective protection of the protected legal interests by implementing adequate measures, in order to implement the principle expressed by the Draft Law of providing effective, proportionate, and dissuasive sanctions.

Person substitution committed by the use of AI systems.

The offense of person substitution can also be configured when the act is committed by the use of artificial intelligence systems.

The new offense of deep fake.

The offense is a novelty of the Draft Law and provides for criminal sanctions for the illicit dissemination of content generated or manipulated with artificial intelligence systems: in particular, the provision punishes the sending, delivery, transfer, publication, or any dissemination of falsified or altered images, videos, or voices using AI systems and capable of deceiving their authenticity. The formulation is not yet definitive, imagining the possible introduction of the specific intent to harm a person without their consent, or alternatively, an aggravating circumstance if unjust damage results from the act.

Aggravating Circumstances of Certain Offenses Involving the Use of AI.

The common aggravating circumstance of using AI.

The Draft Law establishes the introduction of a new common aggravating circumstance for having committed the act using artificial intelligence systems, when such systems, by their nature or manner of use, have constituted insidious means, or when their use has obstructed public or private defence, or aggravated the consequences of the offence.

Aggravating circumstances of market manipulation offenses committed by AI systems.

An increase in the penalty is provided if the acts of publishing or disseminating fake news and executing schemes that harm market stability are committed by the use of artificial intelligence systems, amending the rules governing various offenses under Articles 501 of the Penal Code, 2637 of the Civil Code, and 185 of the TUF (Italian Financial Law).

Aggravating circumstances of fraud offenses committed by AI systems.

Fraud and computer fraud offenses will be punished more severely when the act is committed by AI.

Aggravating circumstances of money laundering offenses committed by AI systems.

Aggravating circumstances are provided for money laundering offenses, the use of money, assets, or benefits of illicit origin, and self-laundering when the acts are committed by AI.


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