February 25, 2024

Shock and disgust rippled through a New Jersey town in November after students created and spread deepfake pornography of their female classmates at Westfield High School. These deepfakes used original photos of the girls’ faces and nudification software, generating explicit images without their consent. The incident highlighted the advancing dangers of deepfakes and prompted Connecticut State Sen. James Maroney to propose criminalizing AI-generated pornography, which would be part of a larger bill to address AI transparency, accountability, and training. Deepfake technology poses numerous risks, including political misinformation and sexual extortion, particularly targeting women and children. While some states have laws addressing deepfakes, enforcement remains a challenge, leaving families largely on their own. Families and children need to openly communicate about deepfake risks and limit personal photo and video sharing to reduce the likelihood of being a victim. The issue of deepfakes has led women and young girls to live in fear of protecting their images, and the impact can be emotional, psychological, and physical. A college advocacy intern at a girls’ leadership nonprofit testified at the Connecticut State Capitol, advocating for policies that open doors for women and girls in Connecticut. The proposed bill seeks to create civil and criminal penalties for those creating and spreading fake intimate images and will address the legality of AI-generated hyper-realistic child pornography.

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