Sen. Mary Edly-Allen

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mary Edly-Allen recently introduced legislation to crack down on abusive and harmful use of digital imitations known as “deepfakes”.

“We must protect victims of this digital harassment by providing them with a new avenue to seek justice,” said Edly-Allen (D-Libertyville). “With these new technologies being rapidly developed to perfectly imitate others, we have to find ways to combat identify theft and defamation toward its victims.”

Senate Bill 1392 would create the Civil Digital Forgeries Act, causing individuals who create digitally forged material with intent to distribute and cause harm to face legal consequences. The measure further helps victims of these harmful acts to seek justice by compensation for emotional distress damages.

Deepfake technology is used to create extremely realistic digital imitations, which are increasingly being used to falsely portray people participating in pornographic activity without their consent. Victims are routinely humiliated, abused and blackmailed as the result of the creation and dissemination of deepfake videos.

“A disturbingly common use of deepfake technology involves the likeness of a non-consenting person onto a pornographic video with the intent to harass, humiliate, or blackmail that person. The targets of this abuse are disproportionately women and LGBTQ people,” said Edly-Allen.

Senate Bill 1392 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday. It now heads to the full Senate for further consideration.