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Deepfake Crisis Unveiled: Teen’s Horror Story Sparks Urgency for Comprehensive Federal Laws

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Rep. Joe Morelle (D-N.Y.) and a teenage victim of non-consensual explicit deepfakes team up to promote a bipartisan federal measure that makes the dissemination of deepfake content illegal.

The Preventing Deepfakes of Intimate Images Act, introduced by Morelle in May, is currently under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill not only seeks to criminalize the non-consensual sharing of sexually explicit deepfakes but also introduces a right of private action, allowing victims to sue creators and distributors while maintaining their anonymity. 

With the surge in the production and sharing of non-consensual sexually explicit deepfakes, which use AI to superimpose victims’ faces onto pornographic content, the need for federal legislation has become increasingly urgent.

Francesca Mani, a high school student from New Jersey and a recent victim of deepfake exploitation, shared her harrowing experience during a news conference. Male classmates had created and disseminated sexually explicit deepfakes of her and over 30 other girls. 

Emotional Toll of Deepfake Exploitation

deepfake-crisis-unveiled-teen's-horror-story-sparks-urgency-for-comprehensive-federal-laws
Rep. Joe Morelle (D-N.Y.) and a teenage victim of non-consensual explicit deepfakes team up to promote a bipartisan federal measure that makes the dissemination of deepfake content illegal.

Despite assurances that the images were destroyed, Mani emphasized the emotional toll, stating, “No kid, teen, or woman should ever have to experience what I went through. I felt sad and helpless.”

Representative Tom Kean, R.-N.J., the first Republican co-sponsor of Morelle’s bill, acknowledged the urgency of the issue. Kean has also introduced the AI Labeling Act of 2023, which mandates clear and conspicuous disclosures on AI-generated content.

Morelle stressed the prevalence of deepfake incidents, noting their impact on everyday people across the United States. 

Concerns have expanded beyond personal harm, with legal expert Mary Anne Franks warning of deepfakes potentially disrupting the 2024 election cycle, citing instances of female politicians being targeted by deepfake technology.

As the legislative process unfolds, the push for comprehensive federal legislation remains a crucial step in combating the widespread harm caused by non-consensual deepfake exploitation.

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