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U.S. lawmakers propose quick legislation in response to Taylor Swift deepfake

United States lawmakers are urging for legislation criminalizing the production of deepfake images following the widespread circulation of explicit fake photos of Taylor Swift. The pictures appeared on various social media platforms, including X and Telegram.

In a post on the X social media platform, U.S. Representative Joe Morelle expressed his strong disapproval of disseminating the images, describing it as “appalling.” He highlighted the Preventing Deepfakes of Intimate Images Act, a legislation he wrote to make non-consensual deepfakes a federal crime and called for urgent action on the issue.

Deepfakes utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to create manipulated videos by altering someone’s face or body. While no federal laws address the sharing or creation of deepfake images, some lawmakers are taking steps to address this issue.

Democratic Rep Yvette D Clarke stated on X social media platform that the situation with Taylor Swift is not new. She highlighted that women have been victims of this technology for years, emphasizing that creating deepfakes has become more accessible and affordable with AI advancements.

In a statement, X mentioned it is actively removing the images and taking appropriate actions against the accounts responsible for spreading them. The platform said it is closely monitoring the situation to promptly address any further violations and ensure content removal.

In the UK, the sharing of deepfake pornography became illegal as part of its Online Safety Act in 2023. The State of Deepfakes report from last year revealed that the majority of deepfakes posted online involve pornography, and approximately 99% of individuals targeted in such content are women.

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Worries about AI-generated content have increased as the World Economic Forum (WEF), in its 19th Global Risks Report, highlighted the adverse outcomes of AI technologies, some intended or unintended negative consequences of advances in AI and related technological capabilities (including generative AI) on individuals, businesses, ecosystems and economies.

Canada’s primary national intelligence agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), has also expressed worry about disinformation campaigns on the internet utilizing AI-generated deepfakes.

In a report on June 12, the United Nations highlighted AI-generated media as a significant and pressing threat to information integrity, especially on social media. The U.N. stated that the risk of online disinformation has increased due to rapid technological advancements, particularly in generative artificial intelligence, specifically focusing on deepfakes.

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