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Sen. Ted Cruz Leads Bipartisan Effort to Combat AI-Generated “Revenge Pornography”

Ted Cruz

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A bipartisan coalition of 13 senators unveiled new legislation on Tuesday aimed at protecting victims of digitally altered “revenge pornography.” The proposed Take It Down Act, sponsored by Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., seeks to address the rise of deepfake pornography created using artificial intelligence (AI).

“In recent years, we’ve witnessed a stunning increase in exploitative sexual material online, largely due to bad actors taking advantage of newer technologies like generative artificial intelligence,” Cruz stated. “Many women and girls are forever harmed by these crimes, having to live with being victimized again and again.”

While some states provide legal remedies for victims of nonconsensual intimate imagery, Cruz emphasized the need for a uniform federal law to aid in “removing and prosecuting the publication of nonconsensual intimate images nationwide.” He asserted that the bill would “empower all victims of this heinous crime.”

Emma Waters, a research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, elaborated on the technology behind deepfake videos. “These AI-generated photos and videos, dubbed ‘deepfakes,’ can be produced in a matter of minutes on a multitude of apps and websites,” Waters wrote. “Anyone can use ‘face swap’ on ready-to-use apps, such as DeepSwap and FaceSwapper, to place someone else’s likeness in a sexually explicit photo or video.”

The Cruz-Klobuchar bill targets both the creators and distributors of deepfake pornography. It mandates that websites hosting such content remove it within 48 hours of being notified.

The legislation is outlined in a one-page summary highlighting four key points: criminalizing the publication of nonconsensual intimate images, protecting “good faith disclosure” of such images to law enforcement, requiring swift removal of offending material by websites, and ensuring the law is “narrowly tailored” to avoid impinging on lawful speech.

A similar bill introduced by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., has faced criticism from Cruz and Klobuchar for being too broad. Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., one of the bill’s endorsers, told The Hill that Durbin’s bill would “stifle American technological innovation.”

The Take It Down Act represents a focused effort to combat the misuse of AI technology in the creation and distribution of exploitative content, aiming to protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable.