Mar 19, 2024 - News

New Washington law criminalizes deepfake porn

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Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

A new Washington state law will make it illegal to share fake pornography that appears to depict real people having sex.

Why it matters: Advancements in artificial intelligence have made it easy to use a single photograph to impose someone's features on realistic-looking "deepfake" porn.

  • Before now, however, state law hasn't explicitly banned these kinds of digitally manipulated images.

Zoom in: The new Washington law, which Gov. Jay Inslee signed last week, will make it a gross misdemeanor to knowingly share fabricated intimate images of people without their consent.

  • People who create and share deepfake pornographic images of minors can be charged with felonies. So can those who share deepfake porn of adults more than once.
  • Victims will also be able to file civil lawsuits seeking damages.

What they're saying: "With this law, survivors of intimate and fabricated image-based violence have a path to justice," said state Rep. Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines), who sponsored the legislation, in a news release.

The big picture: At least 10 other states have already passed laws banning exploitative deepfake pornography, USA Today reported earlier this year.

  • In January, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a bill designed to hold people responsible for "digital forgery." But right now, federal law doesn't regulate these images.

What's next: The new law takes effect June 6.

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