Senate Passes Portman, Schatz Amendment to Assess & Address Rising Threat of Deepfakes in FY 21 NDAA

July 23, 2020 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) applauded the Senate passage of the Deepfake Report Act as an amendment to the Senate’s FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The measure directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to conduct an annual study of deepfakes and other types of similar content. Deepfakes are hyper-realistic, digital manipulations of real content that depict events that did not actually occur. The legislation requires DHS to assess the technology used to generate deepfakes, the uses of deepfakes by foreign and domestic entities, and available countermeasures to deepfakes, to help policymakers and the public better understand the threats deepfakes pose to our national security and election security. The Deepfake Report Act passed the Senate in October 2019 as a stand-alone bill. This legislation will now need to be conferenced with the version passed by the House of Representatives.

“As AI rapidly becomes an intrinsic part of our economy and society, AI-based threats, such as deepfakes, have become an increasing threat to our democracy which is why I applaud Senate passage of the Deepfakes Report Act to prepare our country to address deepfake concerns by ensuring we have a sound understanding of the issue,” said Senator Portman. “As deepfakes concerns grow by the day, we must address the challenge and grapple with important questions related to civil liberties and privacy.”

“Fake content can damage our national security and undermine our democracy,” said Senator Schatz. “Our amendment directs the federal government to learn more about the scope and impact of deepfake technology. It’s an important step in fighting disinformation.”