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Deepfake porn is now enshrined into law

Deepfake porn is now enshrined into law

Deepfakes, or the use of AI to make make incredibly convincing fake images and video, has raised many concerns not just in the case of political manipulation, but also in the case of revenge porn or other malicious use of artificial nudes with the faces of real people.  The state of Virginia has decided to tackle the problem by expanding its anti-harassment law to cover deepfaked content.

 A law that criminalized using nudes or sexual images to "coerce, harass, or intimidate" another person, has been revised with the addition that such sexual images also include "a falsely created videographic or still image." The state's General Assembly passed the bill for the ban in March, and it was signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam later that month. The amendment came into into full effect on July 1.

Dissemination of revenge porn is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. At least in Virginia, it doesn't make a difference now if the porn is original or doctored.

You may recall that last week, a controversial app called DeepNude, which used neural networks to 'undress' photos of clothed women, was pulled by its creators followed a public backlash. Of course, DeepNude or something like it can be re-created and distributed relatively easily and cheaply. Virginia's law is getting out ahead of this in order to protect the vulnerable.

androidpit PORN
AI could fake anyone into such a compromising position. / © AndroidPIT

There is also a push to legislate against  deepfakes on the federal level as well, with Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) introducing a bill to make the distribution of deepfake revenge porn ''with the intent to humiliate or otherwise harass the person falsely exhibited" a federal crime. Previously Sen. Ben Sasse introduced a bill that attempted to criminalize the production or knowing distribution of deepfakes that affected government business (including elections), but the bill expired in 2018 without passing into law.

What do you think of Virginia's legislation? Should it be an example to follow?

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