Privacy experts say authorities available to a president are limited, arguing that new legislation on Capitol Hill is necessary to protect Americans from AI-caused data breaches. The privacy risk in the energy sector comes from potentially faulty AI products that disseminate data, including from Chinese malware projects that use AI, according to experts.

“There are risks especially within the energy space,” said Brandon Pugh, policy director for cybersecurity and emerging threats at the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank. “There’s definitely a different risk for critical infrastructure having a disruption than potentially a local business. Both are serious, but there’s definitely a distinction…”

But not only are major AI regulations nonexistent, they’re unlikely to come anytime soon, regardless of Biden’s executive order.

“Outside of specific sectors and then state-level legislation, there’s no comprehensive privacy law in the United States, meaning that there’s no law governing how people’s data is secured [and] allowing them to weigh in on terms of their consent,” said R Street’s Pugh. “[Places] around the world like China and the European Union … are well beyond [where] we are.

“From a consumer perspective, that’s not ideal,” he said.