Portman, Peters Applaud Committee Passage of Bipartisan Legislation to Create Task Force at DHS to Combat Deepfakes

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member and Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, applauded the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for passing their bipartisan Deepfake Task Force Act to counter deepfake technology. Deepfakes are hyper-realistic, digital manipulations of real content that depict events that did not actually occur. The legislation will create a task force, led by the Department of Homeland Security, charged with producing a coordinated plan to explore how a “digital content provenance” standard could assist with reducing the spread of deepfakes, develop tools for content creators to authenticate their content and its origin, and increase the ability of civil society and industry leaders to relay trust and information about the source of the deepfakes to consumers. The task force will be comprised of experts from academia, government, civil society, and industry.

“Deepfakes represent a unique threat to our national security and our democracy,” said Senator Portman. “For most of human history seeing meant believing, but now that is becoming less and less true thanks to deepfakes. Combined with the network effects created by social media, fake videos or pictures can travel around the world in an instant, tricking citizens. I applaud the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for passing this bipartisan legislation because establishing a deepfake task force at the Department of Homeland Security will help solve this problem by making progress to develop standards so that companies, journalists, and all Americans can track and authenticate content so we can better separate the truth from the lies.”

“The spread of disinformation through deepfakes continues to be a highly concerning national security threat with the potential to divide our nation and harm the American people,” said Senator Peters. “I’m pleased this bill has advanced in the Senate and will continue working to ensure its swift passage into law so we can fight back against bad actors who spread lies to create chaos and dysfunction that threatens our communities.”

NOTE: The Deepfake Task Force Act builds upon Senator Portman’s Deepfake Report Act which he introduced with Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Gary Peters (D-MI), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH). The measure directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to conduct an annual study of deepfakes and other types of similar content. The legislation requires DHS to assess the technology used to generate deepfakes, the uses of deepfakes by foreign and domestic entities, and available countermeasures to deepfakes, to help policymakers and the public better understand the threats deepfakes pose to our national security and election security. The Deepfake Report Act passed the Senate last year as an amendment to the Senate’s FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).