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HomeUSThere's no US federal law against sharing AI-generated nudes

There’s no US federal law against sharing AI-generated nudes

A New Jersey high school has been rocked by scandal after male students reportedly used AI to create fake nude photos of female students.
Last month, some teen girls at Westfield High School learned that fake nude images of them had been circulated among other students over the summer, the Wall Street Journal reported. In an email to parents, school principal Mary Asfendis called the debacle a “very serious incident,” saying she believed the images had been deleted and were no longer in circulation, according to Ars Technica.
But so far, there hasn’t been much in the way of resolution. The school, citing confidentiality, won’t share how many people are affected. Nor has it disclosed whether the students behind the deepfakes have been caught and will face disciplinary action.
This isn’t an isolated incident. Something similar happened in Spain in September. Also, public personalities, including congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson, and several YouTubers and Twitch streamers, have found themselves caught up in deepfake pornography scandals.
Meanwhile, New Jersey has no law to penalize makers and distributors of AI-generated nudes. On Oct. 10, governor Phil Murphy announced an AI task force, saying it “will not only work to understand the benefits of AI but also analyze its growth and potential risks.” However, a law calling out offenders eludes New York’s neighboring state.
Snapshot: No federal law against deepfake nudes
US president Joe Biden’s expansive executive order on AI regulation, issued on Oct. 30, lays out guidelines for monitoring and detection, setting up guardrails, and investing in tech tools but does not implement a nationwide law.
Quotable: Federal deepfake legislation is complicated
“If there is federal deepfake legislation passed that specifically targets pornographic deepfakes, then, in order to be constitutional, pornographic deepfakes may need to fit into the First Amendment categorical exception of being a separate category like child pornography….[T]here is no clear solution. At the very least, before substantive federal legislation is passed, researchers need to conduct more studies to learn about the impact that pornographic deepfakes have on victims and internet users.” —Bradley Waldstreicher, associate editor, Cardozo Law Review, May 2021
AI-generated fake nudes, by the digits
290%: How much fake nudes have ballooned since 2018 on the top 10 websites that host AI-generated porn photos, the Washington Post reported, citing industry analyst Genevieve Oh
143,000: AI-generated porn videos added in 2023 across the 40 most popular websites for faked videos—a figure that surpasses all new such videos from 2016 to 2022
4.2 billion: Views those 143,000 videos have generated
54%: Increase in deepfake pornographic videos were uploaded to website hosts in January through September 2023 compared with all of 2022
90-95%: Share of deepfake videos that are non-consensual porn involving women, according to Sensity AI, a company that has tracked online deepfake videos since December 2018
26,800: US victims of “sextortion” campaigns this year through September, according to the FBI. That’s a 149% rise compared to 2019.
A non-exhaustive list of US states where distributing AI-generated nudes is a crime (or soon could be)
California. Since 2019, the Golden State has allowed people to sue anyone who puts their image in a pornographic deepfake video. Under proposed legislation, the creation, intentional distribution, and exhibition of pornographic deepfakes would be criminalized.
Virginia. Under its “revenge porn” law—which bans spreading nude images or video “with the intent to coerce, harass, or intimidate” another person—Virginia covers deepfakes. Breaking the law could result in a 12-month prison sentence and up to $2,500 in fines.
Minnesota. A new law enacted in July makes it a crime to use deepfakes to influence an election or to disseminate sexual images without the subject’s consent. The punishment for creating deepfake porn is up to three years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
New York. A recent entrant, the state last month officially made it “illegal to disseminate AI-generated explicit images or ‘deepfakes’ of a person without their consent.” Violating the law could result in a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, and victims have the right to pursue legal action against perpetrators.



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