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Moriarty, Corrado Bill Establishing Penalties for ‘Deepfake’ Crimes Clears Law & Public Safety Committee

STOCK, cybersecurity

Trenton – Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Paul Moriarty and Senator Kristin Corrado that would establish criminal penalties for the production or knowing dissemination of deceptive audio or visual media, commonly known as “deepfakes,” was released from the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.


The bill would establish criminal penalties for the creation and disclosure of deceptive audio or visual media for an unlawful purpose. These would be crimes of a third degree, which is ordinarily punishable by a term of three to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $15,000, or both. The bill would also provide that a court could impose a fine of up to $30,000.


Under the bill, a person who violates the provisions of the bill would be liable to the individual depicted in the deceptive audio or visual media, who could in turn then bring a civil action in Superior Court.


“Given the onset of the AI era, as well as a rise in manipulations of online content that are becoming all too common, and often dangerous, it is imperative we move to provide a criminal penalty and prosecution framework to begin to address these issues,” said Senator Moriarty (D-Atlantic/Camden/ Gloucester). “Unfortunately, we live in a time where bad actors are willing and able to harm others by disseminating deceptive and often hurtful misinformation in our digital spaces. This bill will be a starting point for New Jersey to take necessary steps to protect our citizens.”


Deepfakes are images, videos or audio recordings created with digital software that aren’t real, but appear to be real photos or video. A deepfake is an artificial image or video generated by a special kind of machine learning called “deep” learning.


As a result of the growing prevalence of these online deceptions, there have been calls to regulate deepfakes at the State and federal level. At least five states (California, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, and Washington) have enacted legislation regulating deepfakes. There is currently no federal law regulating deepfakes.


The bill was released from committee on a vote of 4-0.