California Clamps Down on Nonconsensual Deepfake Pornography

Thursday, October 3, 2019

SACRAMENTO – Today Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 602, authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman, which enacts civil penalties for creating and disclosing nonconsensual digitally produced sexually explicit material.

“When deepfake technology is abused to create sexually explicit material without someone’s permission, it can cause irreparable harm to a victim’s reputation, job prospects, personal relationships, and mental health,” said Assemblymember Berman. “Women are disproportionately being harassed and humiliated when their photos are scraped from the internet and seamlessly grafted into pornographic content.  AB 602 will ensure that Californians are protected from this abuse.”

Filmmakers can also use deepfake technology in mainstream content to depict an actor performing in the nude or as engaging in sexual activity without consent or participation. In post-production, filmmakers now have tools to remove underwear, create a digital replica of the individual, or to place the head of a performer on the real body of another.

Deepfakes are hyper-realistic images and recordings of an individual appearing to do or say something that the person, in fact, did not do or say. Created by powerful AI technology, deepfakes make it increasingly difficult to differentiate between truth and fiction.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Governor Gavin Newsom stood by the victims, most of whom are women, of nonconsensual pornography by signing AB 602 into law,” said Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists President Gabrielle Carteris. “AB 602 is a victory for all Californians. Deepfake technology can be weaponized against any person. Every person deserves the basic human right to live free from image-based sexual abuse.”

AB 602 will help restore control over an individual’s image or likeness by requiring consent to be obtained prior to depicting a person in digitally produced sexually explicit material and by allowing that consent to be rescinded within three business days unless certain conditions are met. The bill also provides victims with a robust set of remedies in civil court.

Sponsored by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the bill received bipartisan support in the Legislature and had no opposition.

 

Contact: Kaitlin Curry, (916) 319-2024