Regional Attorneys General Policy Discussion addresses Meta Lawsuit, AI Ethics, and Crime Solutions in Greater Washington 

The Greater Washington Board of Trade’s Regional Policy Leadership Series brought together Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown, DC Attorney General Brian Schwalb, and Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares in discussion with Uber Technologies’ Senior Public Policy Manager Michele Blackwell about topics ranging from the ongoing Meta lawsuit and artificial intelligence to combating the epidemic of crime in the region.   

AG Brown discussed key priorities around consumer protection and public safety, ranging from the Meta lawsuit and antitrust regulations to regulation around handgun qualification and addressing mass incarceration and recidivism, even indicating that he will be seeking to form a regional coalition among his colleagues on the call to create a task force in the mold of Illinois’ recent organized retail theft task-force to begin tackling the problem more holistically and collaboratively across the region.   

In the way of consumer protections, Brown delved into antitrust legislation around minimum price setting in Maryland and expressed a commitment to continuing to pursue a collaborative relationship with the business focused on the prevention of abusive behaviors rather than over-regulation and litigation. Conversation then shifted to the Meta lawsuits being pursued by 41 attorneys general across the nation and the need for social media platforms and the tech industry to take age gating and verification seriously so that kids are protected from some of the tactics that have become a vital part of monetization of social media platforms.   

In a discussion on violent crime, Brown pointed out that youth crime is actually on the decline with the very important exception of carjackings and gun violence and that wrap-around services in concert with a more pointed approach to prosecuting those crimes will be pivotal parts of any solution going forward. When asked how the business community can help, he suggested that continued investment in young people to get them off the streets and to inspire them with what their futures can look like through internship and mentorship will play a major role in preventing the cycle of criminality that plagues the region.

AG Schwalb primarily focused on DC’s Cure the Streets broad approach to combating violent crime in the District and consumer protections around the Meta Lawsuit, as well as the District’s proposed legislation regarding the use of AI algorithms in the making of important life decisions for residents.   

Discussion of DC’s Cure the Streets program centered around the need to make people feel safe in the face of some disturbing trends around violence in the city. As the crimes associated with first offenses worsen and traditional prosecution has not seemed to be able to fix the problem, wrap-around services to keep children off the streets by providing after-school programs, jobs, internships, and mentoring may represent a viable path forward. Schwalb indicated that point as a way in which the business community is poised to get involved and have a major impact on both public safety and the lives of many of the District’s young residents.   

Discussion of the Meta lawsuit and protection of DC’s youth from business practices that may negatively impact young minds transitioned into discussion of DC’s proposed regulations around the use of AI, big data, and algorithms in the making of important life decisions when Schwalb acknowledged the importance of balancing the major benefits that many of these technologies can bring to residents with concerns around the data privacy and data set biasing endemic to them. He expressed his office’s desire to create guard rails that will prevent the technology from going over the line and doing harm rather than opening up access to products and services to a broader scope of the population.

AG Miyares discussed, first, Virginia’s cease-fire program designed to combat gang violence throughout the state by intervening immediately within communities to avoid the retaliatory cycle of gun violence before it can begin and focusing on the prosecution of the disproportionately small number of repeat offenders, ~5%, who commit ~50% of crime in the Commonwealth. He, like his colleagues, pointed out that the business community can take a major role in preventing that cycle by providing pathways for young people to better themselves and develop relationships with the private sector, getting them out of bad situations associated with their being unsupervised after school and allowing them to envision themselves in positions and roles which may never have occurred to them.   

Miyares then moved on to the discussion of consumer protections in the Commonwealth, again reiterating the need to provide age-appropriate guard rails for children on social media platforms while still allowing for the social connection that they so desire before moving into discussion of his recent opposition to the increasing of greenbelt fares, expounding on the AG’s office’s role as the voice of the people in issues of consumer protection within the Commonwealth.

Our Regional Attorneys General RPLS webinar was the last one of for 2023. During the 2023 year, we held six RPLS virtual policy discussions, including discussions with Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, Maryland Governor Wes Moore, Regional Police Chiefs and Regiona Labor Leaders from DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

In 2024, we look forward to continuing to connect the business community to information directly from policymakers through our Regional Policy Leadership Series, ensuring that our members have the best up-to-date knowledge about how the region’s governments are planning for and reacting to a constantly changing environment.   

This Regional Policy Leadership Series webinar was presented by Uber Technologies. Supporting Sponsors of the event series are Comcast, First National Bank, Fox Rothschild LLP, Giant Food LLCG.S. Proctor & Associates Inc., Holland & Knight LLP, McGuireWoods Consulting LLC, McGuireWoods LLP, and MGM National Harbor. Thank you for supporting the Greater Washington Board of Trade and our region’s business community.