Peters, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Respond to Growing Threat of Deepfakes

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and a founding member of the Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus (AI Caucus), joined his AI Caucus colleagues to introduce bipartisan legislation that would help to protect Americans from the emergence of forged video content online. Known as deepfakes, these hyper-realistic, digital manipulations of real content can be used to depict events that did not actually occur. Deepfakes pose a serious threat to national security and public safety since manipulated content could be used by malicious actors to intentionally deceive or mislead the public.

“When we see something with our own eyes, we tend to believe it, and video has become an important way for people around the world to communicate and share information,” said Senator Peters. “Deepfakes have the potential to undermine our trust in what we see and hear by creating deceptive content that poses a threat to everything from public safety to our democracy. This bill will task our top intelligence and defense experts with shining a light on these rapidly developing threats and the implications forged content can have on our society.”

“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,” said Senator Portman. “Addressing the challenges posed by deepfakes will require policymakers to grapple with important questions related to civil liberties and privacy. This bill prepares our country to answer those questions and address concerns by ensuring we have a sound understanding of this issue. As concerns with deepfakes grow by the day, I urge my colleagues to swiftly pass this bipartisan legislation.”

Peters joined his colleagues in the bipartisan AI Caucus to introduce the legislation, which was led by U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH). The bill also received support from former Michigan Congressman and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI).

“I support Senator Portman and the Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus’ efforts on the digital forgery threat through the Deepfakes Report Act. Digitally forged videos and content are a clear, present, and rapidly developing threat, and this Act is a good first step in focusing Congressional and Executive attention,” said Former House Intel Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI).

Deepfakes are created with the aid of rapidly advancing technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning that allow the fabrication or manipulation of digital audio, visual, or text content, and make it difficult for the public to determine whether digital content is authentic. Deepfakes have the potential to be weaponized by bad actors to spread false information and undermine public trust.

The Deepfake Reports Act directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to produce periodic reports on deepfakes to raise public awareness of possible fraudulent or misleading content, improve our understanding of the technology used to generate deepfakes, and identify how foreign governments or their proxies use the technology to harm national security. The bill also instructs DHS to consider available technological countermeasures and legislative responses to combat the rising threat of deepfakes.