Sens. Rob Portman, D-Ohio, and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said they are offering the Deepfake Report Act as an amendment to the Senate’s fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bill. The amendment would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to conduct an annual study of “deepfake” technologies.
Deepfake technologies refer to realistic “digital manipulations of real content that depict events that did not actually occur,” a press release outlined. In other words, the technology can take an existing image or video of a person and replace it with someone else’s likeness or alter audio content.
“As AI rapidly becomes an intrinsic part of our economy and society, AI-based threats, such as deepfakes, have become an increasing threat to our democracy,” Sen. Portman said. “Addressing the challenges posed by deepfakes will require policymakers to grapple with important questions related to civil liberties and privacy.”
The deepfake legislation – which had previously passed as a stand-alone bipartisan Senate bill in October 2019 – would direct DHS to assess the tech behind deepfakes, the use of it by foreign and domestic entities, and possible measures to counter deepfakes. The report by DHS will “help policymakers and the public better understand the threats deepfakes pose to our national security and election security,” the senators said.
“Our amendment directs the federal government to learn more about the scope and impact of deepfake technology. It’s an important step in fighting disinformation,” Sen. Schatz said.