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Michigan Legislature Introduces Bill to Regulate Intimate A.I. Deepfakes

Washington, D.C. and Lansing, Mich. – Today Michigan state representatives Penelope Tsernoglou and Matthew Bierlein introduced House Bills 5569 and 5570 respectively, which would make it a crime to circulate nonconsensual intimate A.I. deepfakes.

Intimate deepfakes cause serious harm to innocent people. Victims report experiencing significant emotional consequences and trauma, as well as damage to their reputation and career. The vast majority of the victims are women and children.

Last year, the FBI warned the public about “sextortion” schemes in which intimate deepfakes are used to extort victims. Dozens of these cases have led to the victims taking their own lives.

“As artificial intelligence and other automated technologies continue to evolve, we must ensure that we as legislators are proactive in addressing the novel and unique challenges that we may face as a result of these technologies,” said Rep. Tsernoglou (D-East Lansing), who is chair of the Michigan House Elections Committee. “Rather than sitting back and doing nothing, it is vital that individuals who may be harmed by the creation or dissemination of nonconsensual intimate deepfakes can seek justice, and that those responsible do not avoid accountability because of our state’s lack of laws on this topic.”

“In response to the alarming rise of nonconsensual deepfake dissemination, Michigan can take a bold step forward with legislation to address an issue that seems to be increasingly dangerous,” said Rep. Bierlein (R-Vassar). “With no laws currently on the books to stop this activity from happening, individuals in our state remain vulnerable to the sharing of intimate deepfake content, causing irreparable reputational, emotional, and physical harm. This crucial legislation not only provides a path for affected individuals to seek civil justice but also ensures that those intentionally causing harm through the distribution of intimate deepfakes can face misdemeanor charges. As artificial intelligence outpaces our legal framework, this initiative underscores our state’s commitment to protecting its citizens from the repercussions of nonconsensual deepfake creation and distribution.”

“Without regulation, it has become easier than ever to exploit individuals through the use of A.I. and other technologies which are rapidly improving in quality and accessibility,” said Ilana Beller, organizing manager for Public Citizen’s democracy campaign. “As the number of intimate deepfakes circulating on the internet skyrockets, regulation is increasingly important, and we applaud Michigan for taking this critical step.”