Finegold Bill Would Ban ‘Deepfake’ Depictions of Candidates or Political Committees

Sen. Barry R. Finegold. (WHAV News file photograph.)

A law, proposed by Sen. Barry R. Finegold, that would ban phony depictions of candidates is headed for debate within a legislative subcommittee.

The Senate Monday referred to the Committee on Election Laws, Finegold’s proposal to prohibit “Deceptive or fraudulent deepfake” media within 90 days of an election featuring the actual candidate or committee. A deepfake is defined as “synthetic media that depicts a candidate or political party with the intent to injure the reputation of the candidate or party or otherwise deceive a voter.” It would apply to any false image, audio or video.

An example of such fraud come to light in advance of this week’s New Hampshire Presidential primary. New Hampshire Attorney General John M. Formella’s office said it received complaints about “a recorded message encouraging voters not to vote.” A press released reported, “Although the voice in the robocall sounds like the voice of President Biden, this message appears to be artificially generated based on initial indications.”

Those who violate the law would be subject to a penalty of up to $10,000. The rule would not apply to bona fide news reports, “satire or parody.”

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