Following the storm of AI-generated, pornographic images of pop artist Taylor Swift that circulated on X, formerly Twitter, a bipartisan group of US senators has introduced a bill aimed at criminalising the spread of non-consensual, sexualised images generated by artificial intelligence (AI).
The bipartisan group, which includes, Dick Durbin, Lindsey Graham, Amy Klobuchar, and Josh Hawley proposed a legislation known as the Disrupt Explicit Forged Images and Non-Consensual Edits Act of 2024, or the “Defiance Act.”
The bill seeks to empower victims depicted in such “digital forgeries” and pursue civil penalties against individuals who produced or possessed the forged content with the intent to distribute it. Additionally, the legislation targets those who knowingly received such material without the consent of the depicted individuals.
Last week, X witnessed the proliferation of AI-generated, sexualised images of Taylor Swift, garnering tens of millions of views. Such content, often referred to as “deepfakes,” involves the use of AI to create realistic-looking images or videos featuring real individuals, sometimes superimposing faces onto other bodies or altering content to be sexually explicit.
The images caused an uproar among the musician’s fans, who began flooding the social media platform with tweets phrased “Taylor Swift AI” accompanied by clips of the singer’s performances to combat searches for the images. Later, as bad press mounted, X blocked all searches for Swift in order to contain the issue.
Durbin, the US Senate majority whip, has since noted that despite sexually explicit “deepfakes” being fake images, their distribution can cause real harm to the victims. The legislation is crafted to address the evolving challenges posed by the increasing prevalence of AI-generated content on the internet.
Senator Hawley also stressed that individuals, including celebrities and ordinary Americans, should not be subjected to AI pornography. The bill reflects an effort to safeguard the reputations of innocent people and hold perpetrators accountable through legal means.
Microsoft Designer, a tool reportedly used to create the images of Taylor Swift, has also undergone changes to close the technical loophole enabling the generation of such content. The Defiance Act aims to provide legal recourse for victims and prevent the unauthorized creation and dissemination of non-consensual AI-generated explicit content.