Current News



States race to restrict deepfake porn as it becomes easier to create

Madyson Fitzgerald, on

Published in News & Features

There are no federal laws banning deepfake porn, but several bills have been introduced in Congress, including the AI Labeling Act of 2023 and the DEFIANCE Act of 2024. Neither has moved out of committee.

High school victims

In 2023, sophomore students at Westfield High School in New Jersey allegedly created and spread deepfake porn images of Francesca Mani and other classmates without their consent. As a response, school principal Mary Asfendis sent a letter notifying the school community of the incident and inviting students to seek support from the school’s counselors. The school also launched an investigation, Mary Ann McGann, coordinator of school and community relations, wrote in an email to Stateline.

Francesca and her mother, Dorota, have been advocating for legislation that would protect girls in the future, Dorota Mani said in an interview.

Since the Westfield High incident, there have been news reports of middle- and high-school students in California, Florida and Washington state becoming victims of deepfake pornography. The students — primarily girls — were allegedly targeted by their classmates, according to the reports.


The American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative public policy organization, is promoting model language for state lawmakers to use that would target individual actors rather than technology developers. The Stop Deepfake CSAM Act is intended to supplement laws against child pornography, while the Stop Non-Consensual Distribution of Intimate Deepfake Media Act aims to bolster revenge porn laws.

“Artificial intelligence is a tool that can be used for good or used for ill,” said Jake Morabito, who heads a technology task force at the organization. “What we should be focusing on is harmful conduct use with AI. So, we should go after the bad actors and the harmful conduct, but don’t go after the people who are making the software.”

In Virginia, legislators realized that a revenge porn law enacted in 2014 was not enough to protect people who had been harmed by deepfake porn. As a result, state Del. Marcus Simon, a Democrat, helped pass an amendment in 2019 to include images that were artificially created.

“What duties do we owe to each other as good digital citizens?” Simon asked. “And what are the remedies for violating people? All of that will need to be worked out.”

©2024 States Newsroom. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus