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Deepfakes Are on the Rise — How Should Government Respond?

January 13, 2020

The past year has seen a remarkable rise in the quality and quantity of deepfakes — realistic-looking images and videos produced with artificial intelligence that portray someone doing or saying something that never actually happened, such as Nixon delivering an alternate moon landing speech. As the tools to produce this synthetic media advance, policymakers are scrambling to address public concerns, and state lawmakers in particular have put forth several proposals this year to respond to deepfakes. Most of these laws generally take the right approach: They make it unlawful to distribute deepfakes with a malicious intent, and they create recourse for those in their state who have been negatively affected by bad actors. However, it is important that lawmakers carefully craft these laws so as not to erode free speech rights or undermine legitimate uses of the technology.

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