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Microsoft Copilot has been banned for use by US House staff members, at least for now

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A new report states that the US House of Representatives has blocked the use of Microsoft's Copilot generative AI assistant by its staff members. The report comes from Axios, which says that it got to see the new guidance that was sent to House staff members about Copilot.

The guidance comes from the US House's Chief Administrative Officer Catherine Szpindor, who stated that all Copilot features will be blocked and removed from the Windows devices that its staff members use. In a quote from the guidance, Szpindor wrote:

The Microsoft Copilot application has been deemed by the Office of Cybersecurity to be a risk to users due to the threat of leaking House data to non-House approved cloud services.

The ban applies to the current commercial version of Copilot. However, Microsoft has already announced plans to launch a version of the AI chatbot for government work sometime in the summer of 2024. In a statement from a Microsoft spokesperson to Axios, it stated:

We recognize that government users have higher security requirements for data.That's why we announced a roadmap of Microsoft AI tools, like Copilot, that meet federal government security and compliance requirements that we intend to deliver later this year.

The office of the US House's Chief Administrative Officer stated that it will evaluate Microsoft's government version of Copilot when it launches and will make its own "determination at that time" on whether or not it will be secure for US House staffers to use.

Microsoft recently announced a number of new and upcoming features for Copilot for Microsoft 365 business and education customers. They include a new addition that will use work content created in Word, Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint to help Copilot give users answers in tech prompts. That feature is due to roll out sometime in April 2024.

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