Lawmakers Debut Bill to Tackle ‘Deepfake’ Videos, Tech

Members of the Senate and House introduced bipartisan companion bills on June 28 to reduce the threat of “deepfake” videos, which use artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to manipulate original video content.

Senate AI Caucus co-founders Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., as well as Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Mike Rounds, R-S.D., introduced the Senate version of the Deepfake Report Act.

Meanwhile, Reps. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., Peter King, R-N.Y., Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and Will Hurd, R-Texas sponsored the House version of the legislation.

The bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to annually study deepfakes – or “hyper-realistic, digital manipulations of real content that depict events that did not actually occur” – and assess technologies used to generate respective content.

The bill sponsors warned of the nefarious ways in which AI fuels deepfakes and disinformation, and can harm American democracy.

“As AI rapidly becomes an intrinsic part of our economy and society, AI-based threats, such as deepfakes have become an increasing threat to our democracy,” Portman said. “Addressing the challenges posed by deepfakes will require policymakers to grapple with important questions related to civil liberties and privacy.”

“Deepfake technology has the potential to be used by bad actors to sow chaos in our society and undermine democratic process,” added Murphy, a former Defense Department national security specialist. “We cannot allow our enemies to use these tools to threaten our nation’s security and democracy.”

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