House

NY Democrat unveils bill to criminalize sharing deepfake porn

Rep. Joseph Morelle (D-N.Y.) has unveiled a bill to make the sharing of deepfake pornography without consent illegal, a response to the accelerated advancement of artificial intelligence and digitally manipulated content. 

Morelle’s office said in a release Friday that technological progress has allowed for rapid growth of deepfakes, with a 2019 report finding 96 percent of deepfake videos online were pornographic and exclusively targeted women. 

Morelle said in the release that the legislation would take “common-sense steps” to protect people’s privacy. 

“The spread of A.I.-generated and altered images can cause irrevocable emotional, financial, and reputational harm—and unfortunately, women are disproportionately impacted,” he said. “As artificial intelligence continues to evolve and permeate our society, it’s critical that we take proactive steps to combat the spread of disinformation and protect individuals from compromising situations online.” 

The release notes that a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act signed by President Biden last year allows those affected by the nonconsensual disclosure of intimate images to sue for civil penalties in court but did not create those protections for those affected by deepfakes. 

The bill, titled the “Preventing Deepfakes of Intimate Images Act,” would make sharing digitally altered intimate images a crime, give victims a way to take action to seek relief and maintain their anonymity in the cases. 

It would also clarify that an individual agreeing to the image being created does not establish their consent for the image being shared. 

Actress Fran Drescher, the president of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, praised Morelle in the release, saying the bill will help protect “personal privacy, safety and autonomy.” 

“Sexual abuse, whether occurring physically or digitally, should never be excused or permitted as ‘personal expression’, and it should never be tolerated,” Drescher said. “Deepfakes are violations, objectification and exploitation, and must be made illegal and punishable by law. This bill is a powerful step to ensure that this technology is not used to cause harm.” 

Morelle previously introduced the bill the bill in the last session of Congress, but it did not did not advance.

Tags Artificial Intelligence consent deepfakes digitally altered images Fran Drescher Joe Biden Joe Morelle Joe Morelle Joseph Morelle pornography

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