Democratic lawmaker says AI deepfakes a bipartisan issue amid Taylor Swift incident

A Democratic lawmaker said that artificial intelligence (AI) deepfakes are a bipartisan issue in the wake of reports of the recent spread of AI-generated graphic images of pop superstar Taylor Swift on social media.

“What’s happened to Taylor Swift is nothing new,” Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) said Thursday in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “For yrs, women have been targets of deepfakes w/o their consent. And w/ advancements in AI, creating deepfakes is easier & cheaper.”

“This is an issue both sides of the aisle & even Swifties should be able to come together to solve,” Clarke continued.

Clarke’s New York colleague, Rep. Joseph Morelle (D), unveiled a bill last May to make sharing deepfake pornography illegal. In a release, his office said that advancement in technology has let deepfakes grow quickly.

“The spread of A.I.-generated and altered images can cause irrevocable emotional, financial, and reputational harm — and unfortunately, women are disproportionately impacted,” Morelle said. “As artificial intelligence continues to evolve and permeate our society, it’s critical that we take proactive steps to combat the spread of disinformation and protect individuals from compromising situations online.” 

Fran Drescher, president of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, praised the New York congressman in the release and said the bill will assist in protecting “personal privacy, safety and autonomy.” 

“Sexual abuse, whether occurring physically or digitally, should never be excused or permitted as ‘personal expression’, and it should never be tolerated,” Drescher said. “Deepfakes are violations, objectification and exploitation, and must be made illegal and punishable by law. This bill is a powerful step to ensure that this technology is not used to cause harm.”