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 PortmanTrump lunches with two of his biggest Senate GOP critics Budget process quick fixes: Fixing the wrong problem Why Republicans are afraid to call a key witness in the impeachment inquiry MORE (R-Ohio), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzCongress should lift the ban on medical cannabis access for military veterans Booker introduces bill banning facial recognition tech in public housing Senate Democrat: Colleague was working on fantasy football trade instead of listening to Schumer MORE (D-Hawaii), Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstSenate approves stopgap bill to prevent shutdown GOP senator blocks vote on House-passed Violence Against Women Act Tensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' MORE (R-Iowa), Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichSenate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics This week: House to vote on Turkey sanctions bill Hillicon Valley: Facebook launches 'News Tab' | Senate passes bill to take on 'deepfakes' | Schumer outlines vision for electric cars MORE (D-N.M.), Cory GardnerCory Scott Gardner2020 hopes rise for gun control groups after Virginia elections Feehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds Tariffs threaten 1.5M jobs: Study MORE (R-Colo.), Gary PetersGary Charles PetersHillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Senators grill safety regulator over self-driving cars Democrats raise privacy concerns over Amazon home security system MORE (D-Mich.), Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsSenate approves stopgap bill to prevent shutdown Hillicon Valley: Facebook launches 'News Tab' | Senate passes bill to take on 'deepfakes' | Schumer outlines vision for electric cars Senate passes legislation to combat 'deepfake' videos MORE (R-S.D.) and Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanHillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack Senate Democrats urge DHS to fund cyber threat information-sharing programs Hillicon Valley: Facebook launches 'News Tab' | Senate passes bill to take on 'deepfakes' | Schumer outlines vision for electric cars 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 PelosiOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Deal on defense bill proves elusive | Hill, Holmes offer damaging testimony | Trump vows to block Navy from ousting officer from SEALs On The Money: Trump signs short-term spending bill to avoid shutdown | Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 | California high court strikes down law targeting Trump tax returns Wasserman Schultz makes bid for House Appropriations Committee gavel 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: Senators ask Trump to halt Huawei licenses | Warren criticizes Zuckerberg over secret dinner with Trump | Senior DHS cyber official to leave | Dems offer bill on Libra oversight Amnesty International: Facebook, Google surveillance an 'assault on privacy' Warren calls newly reported Zuckerberg-Trump dinner 'corruption' 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.