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House passes plan to deep-six some deep fake activity

A popular idiom says you can’t always believe what you read.

In today’s digital age, the same could be said for what you see.

A deep fake is audio or video of a person that has been digitally altered so they appear to be saying or doing something that in actuality did not happen. Typically, this is done with a negative intent such as spreading false information and the victim is unaware of what happened.

The House passed a bill 127-0 Thursday in hopes of deterring such activity. It now goes to the Senate.

Sponsored by Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids) HF1370 would:

  • establish a cause of action, including a felony charge, against someone for the intentional dissemination of a deep fake done without consent of the depicted individual and the deep fake realistically depicts the person as being naked or engaging in a sexual act; and
  • make it a crime to disseminate or enter into an agreement to disseminate a deep fake if the disseminator knows, or should know, it is a deep fake and dissemination occurs within 90 days of an election, is made without consent of the depicted person, and is made with the intent to hurt a candidate or influence the result of an election.

Consent to the deep fake’s creation would not be a defense for unauthorized dissemination. Immunity would be established for internet service and similar providers.

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