BERWYN, Ill. – Voters would be better protected from digitally manipulated political ads under a new bill introduced by state Rep. Abdelnasser Rashid, D-Bridgeview, tackling the dangerous proliferation of deepfakes in campaign advertising.
“We must ensure that all of Illinois’ voters can exercise their fundamental right to vote without impediment from deceptive, deepfake-powered disinformation,” said Rashid. “It is absolutely unacceptable that political deepfakes are currently allowed in our elections. To maintain and ensure the integrity of current and future elections, I am committed to working with my colleagues to pass this legislation.”
As generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology rapidly advances, campaign teams, political action committees and other groups are increasingly utilizing deepfake tools to spread disinformation. From fraudulent recordings of candidates’ voices providing voters with incorrect voting information to viral, manipulated videos of candidates engaging in hate speech, the possibilities for bad actors to exploit generative AI in elections are endless. In one high-profile case last month, voters in New Hampshire received a incorrect voting information from a robocall digitally altered to sound like President Joe Biden.
Rashid’s House Bill 4644, also known as the Illinois Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act, addresses emerging deepfake threats head on by requiring political messages to include clear disclosures of AI use. The legislation would bolster transparency regarding generative AI content in elections and bring an end to the current free-for-all on the use of deepfakes in the state.
“Deepfakes make it difficult for the voters to discern what is real and what is not,” said Ilana Beller from Public Citizen. “Generative AI tools are now widely accessible and the quality of deepfakes is rapidly improving. This makes them increasingly deceptive and dangerous. It is imperative that states act now to regulate AI-generated content in elections, and it is exciting to see Illinois taking this critical step.”