morrison 052223SPRINGFIELD – With bipartisan support, members of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus passed measures to combat the growing online harassment that stems from both deepfakes and doxing.

During a press conference Friday, members of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus discussed how these bills will protect Illinoisans in all corners of the state.

“Deepfakes are a way to deploy gender-based violence, harnessing artificial intelligence to exploit, humiliate and harass through the age-old tactic of stripping women of sexual autonomy and to silence innocent women,” said State Senator Mary Edly-Allen (D-Libertyville). “Despite the rise of deepfakes, until House Bill 2123 there were no consequences for bad actors.”

House Bill 2123 will create a civil cause of action against any person who knowingly distributes, creates or solicits a digital forgery of another individual without their consent and for the purposes of harassing, extorting, threatening or causing harm to the falsely depicted individual.

“Deepfakes are used to exploit, humiliate, and harass by creating sexual videos of women without their consent. This adds another tool available to those who have been harmed by this conduct.  Not only does this bill provide for the standard civil remedies but the ability to get a temporary and permanent orders to stop the spread of the harmful images,” said Vickie Smith, President and CEO, Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Abusers engage in this behavior as another tactic of power and control with the goal of silencing the victim. There is a rise in the use of deepfakes and their use cannot always be stopped by traditional methods alone. This adds another tool to stop the behavior and recover financially for the harm done.”

Further, to give victims of doxing the justice they deserve, State Senator Julie Morrison passed House Bill 2954. The measure would allow people a civil private right of action against the individual who committed the offense. The victim could recover damages and any other appropriate relief, including attorney’s fees.

“It is absolutely critical for our laws to evolve with the changing nature of the cyber world,” said Morrison (D-Lake Forest). “This legislation provides a necessary solution to the dangerous practice of doxing, by both helping victims and deterring future bad actors.”

Doxing is the act of sharing an individual’s personal information without that person’s consent and with the intent to cause harm to the individual whose personal information is shared.

“This is a very promising next step in our efforts to give doxing victims a voice and hold people accountable for online hate and harassment,” said Anti-Defamation League Midwest Regional Director David Goldenberg.  “The General Assembly’s unanimous support for this bill sends a strong signal that Illinois will be no place for hate. We thank Representative Gong-Gershowitz and Senator Morrison for their leadership and look forward to the Civil Liability for Doxing Act becoming law.”

Both measures await final approval by the governor.