The Senate on Thursday passed bipartisan legislation intended to help further understand the risks posed by “deepfake” videos, or those altered by artificial intelligence to change the meaning of the video.
The Deepfake Report Act would require the Department of Homeland Security to publish an annual report on the use of deepfake technology that would be required to include an assessment of how both foreign governments and domestic groups are using deepfakes to harm national security.
The bipartisan bill was passed by unanimous consent and now heads to the House for consideration. Companion legislation in that chamber, which is also bipartisan, awaits markup in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The Senate version is sponsored by Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanRepublicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks Anti-Trump Republicans on the line in 2022 too Major US port target of attempted cyber attack MORE (R-Ohio), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzManchin raises red flag on carbon tax Panic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda Hotel workers need a lifeline; It's time to pass The Save Hotel Jobs Act MORE (D-Hawaii), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstHillicon Valley — Presented by Ericsson — Instagram 'pausing' kid-targeted plan Senators aim to increase oversight of cryptocurrency mining with new bill Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Afghan evacuation still frustrates MORE (R-Iowa), Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichOvernight Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Schneider Electric — Deadly Ida floodwaters grip southeast US David Sirota: Seven Democrats who voted against fracking ban trying to secure future elections Deadly extreme heat has arrived: here's how policymakers can save lives MORE (D-N.M.), Cory GardnerCory GardnerProtecting the outdoors: Three cheers for America's best idea Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Biden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program MORE (R-Colo.), Gary PetersGary PetersHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Officials want action on cyberattacks Officials urge Congress to consider fining companies that fail to report cyber incidents Senate Democrats announce million investment in key battlegrounds ahead of 2022 MORE (D-Mich.), Mike RoundsMike RoundsSenate advances Biden consumer bureau pick after panel logjam The 19 GOP senators who voted for the T infrastructure bill Senate passes T bipartisan infrastructure bill in major victory for Biden MORE (R-S.D.) and Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanHillicon Valley — Presented by Ericsson — Instagram 'pausing' kid-targeted plan Senators aim to increase oversight of cryptocurrency mining with new bill Koch-backed group launches 7-figure ad blitz opposing .5T bill MORE (D-N.H.), all of whom said they were happy with Friday's passage of the bill.
Peters, who serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a statement that “with each passing day, deepfakes become easier to create and distribute, opening the door for bad actors to sow discord and mislead thousands with just the click of a button.”
He added that “as we come to terms with this new reality, we must ensure Americans are aware of the risks this new technology poses, and are empowered to recognize misinformation.”
Rounds noted in a separate statement that deepfakes could be used by malicious actors to “influence our elections by manipulating what we see online,” while Hassan described deepfakes as “undermining our ability to separate truths from lies, directly threatening our democracy.”
Deepfakes have been an increasing issue of concern on Capitol Hill this year, particularly after a video of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiManchin cast doubt on deal this week for .5T spending bill Obama says US 'desperately needs' Biden legislation ahead of key votes Congress shows signs of movement on stalled Biden agenda MORE (D-Calif.) that had been edited to make her appear intoxicated went viral online. Facebook refused to take the video down, though it did not recommend it on its news feed.
Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergBig Tech should pay for damaging mental health The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - House Democrats plagued by Biden agenda troubles Webb: Big Tech won't change; the tech sector can MORE addressed deepfakes while testifying before the House Financial Services Committee this week.
He described deepfake videos as an “emerging threat that we need to get in front of,” and referenced work that his company is doing to study and combat the problem. The company announced in September that it would invest $10 million to study deepfakes.