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Alabama lawmakers move to criminalize artificial intelligence ‘deepfake’ pornography

On Monday, State Sen. April Weaver announced legislation that will add material produced through artificial intelligence or “deepfake” technology to Alabama’s existing statute prohibiting child pornography.

This legislation was prompted by a recent incident in Demopolis where ordinary photos of female middle school students were uploaded to an artificial intelligence website by male classmates who generated explicit material.

“With the expansion and easy accessibility of artificial intelligence, some individuals are using it for immoral purposes, and we must take every step necessary to ensure that innocent and vulnerable children remain protected,” Weaver (R-Brierfield) said.

“As digital technology continues to advance, our laws that protect Alabamians of all ages from harm must keep pace and adapt to it.”

“Deepfake” technology uses artificial intelligence to place recognizable individuals in photos, videos, and other material that they did not participate in or consent to producing.

RELATED: Demopolis middle school shaken by AI-generated porn scandal

Often associated with celebrities, “deepfake” material is commonly used to attack and depict non-celebrity individuals, as well. Much of the deepfake material produced with A.I. technology is pornographic in nature and often depicts children under 18 years of age.

The state’s child pornography statute currently declares it unlawful for any individual to knowingly disseminate, display, possess or produce obscene material involving minors, but it does not specially address digitally-produced or manipulated media.

Weaver’s bill adds material created through “digitization or any other electronic process“ to the list of banned child pornography media and also prohibits “deepfake” depictions of children.

RELATED: Rep. Matt Woods: Alabama Child Protection Act will combat AI-generated pornography

On Tuesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey voiced her own concerns about AI and the need for regulation during her state of the state address to a joint session of the Alabama Legislature.

“In this ever-evolving world, ensuring new technologies are both safe and effective is an important public safety measure,” Gov. Ivey said. “Today, that new technology is Artificial Intelligence, maybe better known as AI. And look y’all, I am not going to stand here and preach like I know a lick about AI. However, Ido know that new technologies can have benefits, but if not used responsibly, they can be dangerous. We are going to ensure that AI is used properly.”

“This week, I will sign an executive order to establish a task force to better understand Artificial Intelligence and to prepare the state to safely and effectively use this emerging technology going forward,” Ivey announced.

Wednesday will be Day 2 of the 2024 Alabama Regular Legislative Session.

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