Tuesday, July 2, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – With the 2020 election cycle picking up steam, a California lawmaker is seeking to protect candidates from fake social media videos he believes have the potential to change election outcomes.

Known as deepfakes, the videos and images are edited to pass fictitious events or scenes on as real ones. The deceptive technology came to the forefront during the 2016 presidential election and more recently a doctored video that made House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appear drunk during a speech was shared millions of times on social media.

In a move tinged with free speech implications, Assemblyman Marc Berman wants to give candidates the ability to sue individuals and organizations that share deepfakes without warning labels near Election Day.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

A California lawmaker says he knew something had to be done after watching a video of Barack Obama calling President Trump “a total and complete dipshit.”

Set in what appears to be the Oval Office, the video also depicts the former president speaking fondly of the militant anti-colonial villain of the “Black Panther” comic franchise and claiming that Housing Secretary Ben Carson is brainwashed.

The video was a fake, of course—a collaboration between the website Buzzfeed and filmmaker Jordan Peele. It’s Peele who speaks through Obama’s digitally re-rendered mouth to illustrate the dangers of A.I.-constructed “deepfake” videos.

With the exception of some discoloration around the jaw and a not-entirely-convincing voice, it’s a solid forgery. And the technology used to make it is only getting better.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Citing fears that doctored videos of political candidates could be used to manipulate voters in 2020, a California lawmaker has proposed legislation to ban the release of so-called deepfake images before an election.

Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, introduced AB730, which would prohibit a person from knowingly distributing a video or photo 60 days before an election with the intent of misleading voters with an image that has been deceptively edited to make it look like a true depiction of the candidate’s words or behavior.

Berman unveiled the legislation Monday, saying that the proliferation of deepfake technology — fictitious images created using artificial intelligence that appear realistic — could be weaponized on a mass scale.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Many California college students are struggling to find a stable home.

Within the past year, one in 20 UC students, one in 10 CSU students and one in five community college students have reported some form of homelessness, said California Homeless Youth Project Director Shahera Hyatt. Hyatt blamed this in part on the lack of affordable housing in the state, including Sacramento. The capital city has also seen some of the country’s highest rent increases in recent years, Hyatt added.

“I live in Midtown Sacramento, and my rent has increased $350 a month over the last two years,” Hyatt said.

Some temporary resources for homeless students are offered at Sacramento State University. Danielle Muñoz, the university’s student affairs case manager, coordinates the Emergency Housing Program, which gives students 30 days to stay in residence halls with beds, laundry supplies and a meal plan.

Friday, May 24, 2019


• State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, withdrew his bill to combat the epidemic use of flavored tobacco products by youth, following what he called hostile amendments that carved out exceptions for tobacco used in hookahs and for tobacco products patented before 2000.

The chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee announced the amendments to Senate Bill 38 last week before passing the bill on to the Senate Floor. Because of the amendments, the American Lung Association in California, the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network withdrew their sponsorship and support, according to Hill’s office.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The California State Assembly adopted Assembly Concurrent Resolution 70 May 6, designating May 2019 as Bone Marrow Donation Awareness Month across the state.

“Every three minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer or other blood disorder,” said District 24 Assemblyman Marc Berman in a statement. “Patients in need of a bone marrow transplant rely on the selfless commitment of strangers for a cure. I joined the registry, and I hope many more Californians will join me in taking this essential step to save lives.”

ACR70 was inspired by Norah Gratz-Lazarus, a 5-year-old diagnosed with Fanconi anemia, a rare gene disorder. Without a bone marrow donor, Norah has more than a 90 percent risk of developing leukemia or other serious bone marrow diseases.

To become a donor, visit

Friday, May 10, 2019

By day, Matthew Bodo worked 12-plus hour days as a valet for Tesla in Palo Alto and studied psychology and communications at Foothill College, long fascinated by neurology, human behavior and media. By night, he slept in a shuttle at the high-end electric car company.

Without a stable home of his own, he became adept at finding places to sleep. If a friend's couch or floor wasn't available, there was the small, carpeted meditation room on campus. There was his car, a 2000 red two-door Mustang with windows that weren't fully sealed and a malfunctioning heater. Sometimes he could park overnight undetected at Foothill. Other times he would be asked to leave, heading into the night to find somewhere out of sight to park, on a quiet street or behind a supermarket.