Feb 15, 2024 - Technology

Scoop: N.Y. governor wants to criminalize deceptive AI

New York Governor Kathy Hochul

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is proposing legislation that would criminalize some deceptive and abusive uses of AI and require disclosure of AI in election campaign materials, her office tells Axios.

Why it matters: New York is the country's second biggest AI center after California, and the proposals add to 65 draft AI bills already under consideration in the state.

  • Both California and New York are using legislation and executive action to provide economic incentives for AI research while instituting new regulations to limit AI's harms.

Details: Hochul's proposed laws include establishing the crime of "unlawful dissemination or publication of a fabricated photographic, videographic, or audio record."

  • Making unauthorized uses of a person's voice "in connection with advertising or trade" a misdemeanor offense. Such offenses are punishable by up to one year jail sentence.
  • Expanding New York's penal law to include unauthorized uses of artificial intelligence in coercion, criminal impersonation and identity theft.
  • Amending existing intimate images and revenge porn statutes to include "digital images" — ranging from realistic Photoshop-produced work to advanced AI-generated content. 
  • Codifying the right to sue over digitally manipulated false images.
  • Requiring disclosures of AI use in all forms of political communication "including video recording, motion picture, film, audio recording, electronic image, photograph, text, or any technological representation of speech or conduct" within 60 days of an election.

Context: The new legislation follows the January launch of Hochul's Empire AI plan to fund "AI for good" projects and bring together seven research institutions — including the state's Ivy League universities, Columbia and Cornell — to boost local AI research.

Zoom out: Hochul's move is part of a wave of state-based AI legislation — now arriving at a rate of 50 bills per week — and often proposing criminal penalties for AI misuse.

What they're saying: "I'm proposing nation-leading protections," Hochul said, to allow law enforcement to "go after bad actors."

What's next: Hochul's proposals are part of her executive budget proposal, meaning we'll know which parts are approved by New York's legislature by the end of March.

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