Senate passes legislation to combat 'deepfake' videos

Senate passes legislation to combat 'deepfake' videos

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.

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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 PortmanIs Trump encouraging the world's use of national security as stealth protectionism? House Republican offers bill to create 'return to work bonus' Soured on Fox, Trump may be seeking new propaganda outlet MORE (R-Ohio), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzCalls for police reform sparks divisions in Congress Overnight Defense: Esper, Milley part of 'command center' for response to protests over George Floyd killing | Several West Point cadets test positive for coronavirus ahead of Trump commencement speech | UN report says Taliban, al Qaeda not breaking ties Schumer calls on McConnell to schedule vote on law enforcement reform bill before July 4 MORE (D-Hawaii), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstGOP lawmakers say Steve King's loss could help them in November The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden on the cusp of formally grasping the Democratic nomination The Hill's Morning Report - Protesters' defiance met with calls to listen MORE (R-Iowa), Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichDemocrats call for green energy relief in next stimulus package OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump rule limits states from blocking pipeline projects | EPA finalizes rule to regulate cancer-linked chemical | Democrats want Congress to help plug 'orphan' oil and gas wells Democrats want Congress to help plug 'orphan' oil and gas wells MORE (D-N.M.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate Republicans urge Trump to tone down rhetoric on protests The Hill's Campaign Report: Minneapolis protests rock the nation McConnell: Next coronavirus bill will be final COVID-19 package MORE (R-Colo.), Gary PetersGary Charles PetersComey, Rice, Clapper among GOP senator's targets for subpoenas amid Obama-era probe GOP chairman to seek subpoena power in investigation of Russia probe, 'unmasking' requests Michigan GOP candidate's Senate petition deemed 'insufficient' over signatures MORE (D-Mich.), Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsGOP senators urge Trump not to restrict guest worker visas Burr decision sends shock waves through Senate Lawmakers move to boost federal cybersecurity in annual defense bill MORE (R-S.D.) and Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanSenators ask DeVos to adjust FAFSA form due to the coronavirus pandemic The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump spotted wearing a face mask Sen. Shaheen tells Biden campaign she does not want to be vetted for VP 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 PelosiPelosi scoffs at comparison between Trump and Churchill: 'I think they're hallucinating' Republicans stand by Esper after public break with Trump Pelosi joins protests against George Floyd's death outside Capitol 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 ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Conspiracy theories run rampant online amid Floyd protests | First lawsuit filed against Trump social media order | Snapchat to no longer promote Trump's account Dozens of ex-Facebook employees criticize Zuckerberg over stance on Trump posts First lawsuit filed against Trump's social media order 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.