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US bill to tackle nonconsensual, sexual deepfakes prompted by Taylor Swift AI images

A group of bipartisan US senators has introduced a bill targeting the dissemination of sexually explicit images created through artificial intelligence, in response to a recent surge in AI-generated pornographic images featuring Taylor Swift on X, formerly Twitter.

The proposed legislation, called the Disrupt Explicit Forged Images and Non-Consensual Edits Act of 2024, or the “Defiance Act,” seeks to empower victims depicted in digitally manipulated nude or sexually explicit images to pursue civil penalties against those responsible for creating, possessing, or distributing the forgeries without consent.

Led by US Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, along with Senators Lindsey Graham, Amy Klobuchar, and Josh Hawley, the bill aims to address the real harm caused by the proliferation of sexually explicit ‘deepfakes’ despite their artificial nature.

The recent flood of AI-generated images portraying Swift in sexually explicit scenarios gained widespread attention on X, amassing millions of views. The use of AI to create such content, known as ‘deepfakes,’ has become increasingly prevalent online, posing significant challenges to privacy and reputation.

It’s believed that the images of Swift were produced using Microsoft Designer and initially shared on Telegram. In response, Microsoft has implemented technical changes to prevent further misuse of its platform for creating such content.

Senator Hawley emphasized the importance of safeguarding individuals, both celebrities and ordinary citizens, from being exploited in AI-generated pornography. The bill seeks to provide recourse for innocent victims to defend their reputations and hold perpetrators accountable in court.

In reaction to the spread of these AI-generated images, Swift’s fanbase, known as Swifties, mobilized on X to inundate the platform with tweets of “Taylor Swift AI,” along with clips of her performances, in an effort to disrupt searches for the images. Additionally, X took decisive action by banning all searches for Swift to mitigate the spread of the images.

The swift response from lawmakers and the concerted efforts of fans highlight the urgent need to address the harmful impact of deepfake technology and protect individuals’ rights to privacy and dignity.

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