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The DEFIANCE Act, a bill to address and prevent nonconsensual deepfake pornography, introduced in the Senate 

For immediate release – January 30, 2024

WASHINGTON, DC 

Today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee; U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee; and U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced the bipartisan Disrupt Explicit Forged Images and Non-Consensual Edits Act of 2024 (DEFIANCE Act). The Sexual Violence Prevention Association (SVPA) greatly appreciates these Senators for working with us to draft this legislation. The DEFIANCE Act provides a civil right of action for victims to seek justice, thus addressing and preventing nonconsensual deepfake pornography.

Deepfake porn uses artificial intelligence to transplant a person’s face onto sexually explicit videos or images. In other words, perpetrators create fake pornography of the victim using just their picture. Deepfake pornography is a form of digital sexual violence. It violates victims’ consent, autonomy, and privacy. Victims face increased risk of stalking, domestic abuse, loss of employment, damaged reputation, and emotional trauma.

As of 2023, over 98% of deepfakes on the internet were pornography. There were over 500,000 deepfakes shared online in 2023. Further, the number of deepfakes online is doubling every six months. 

Currently, there are no federal laws addressing deepfake pornography. Victims are unable to get justice. The problem is increasing due to a lack of consequences. The SVPA was approached by many victims with traumatic stories of nonconsensual deepfake pornography. This pushed us to take action. 

Last June, the Sexual Violence Prevention Association wrote an open letter to Congress urging them to address nonconsensual deepfake pornography. 60 organizations dedicated to sexual violence, women’s rights, and victim advocacy signed on including the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Feminist Majority Foundation, National Center on Sexual Exploitation, UltaViolet, National Women’s Political Caucus, and multiple chapters of the National Organization for Women (NOW). This pressure along with the recent news regarding Taylor Swift, pushed Congress to take action.

We worked with victims and Congress to write The DEFIANCE Act. The DEFIANCE Act will address nonconsensual deepfake pornography by providing victims a civil right of action to seek justice. This will prevent nonconsensual deepfake pornography in the future. 

Omny Miranda Martone, the Founder and CEO of the Sexual Violence Prevention Association said: 

“We greatly appreciate Senator Durbin and the other co-sponsors for working with us to introduce the DEFIANCE Act to address and prevent nonconsensual deepfake pornography. Currently, there are no laws addressing deepfake pornography. Victims are unable to get justice and the problem is increasing due to a lack of consequences. We had many victims approach us with traumatic stories of explicit deepfakes being used to harass and intimidate them. This pushed us to take action. We worked with victims and Congress to write the DEFIANCE Act. The DEFIANCE Act will address nonconsensual deepfake pornography by providing victims a civil right of action to seek justice. This will prevent nonconsensual deepfake pornography in the future.

Unfortunately, due to my outspoken work on this issue, deepfake pornography has been made of me. As a survivor, this was very triggering and provoked traumatic memories. This is yet another example of how nonconsensual deepfake pornography is used to silence and oppress women and minorities. Yet, there are no options for me to take legal action. The DEFIANCE Act will change this.”

Alexis Jones*, a victim of  nonconsensual deepfake pornography who wishes to remain anonymous said:

“This guy from my gym created fake porn of me after I said no to a date. He made it look like I was doing explicit things with him. He showed it to a bunch of people that go to our gym, boasting about how easy it was to create on some app called Face Magic. Luckily, one of them told me and I talked to the manager. He got banned from the gym but then he posted it on Instagram. Luckily, Instagram took it down but a bunch more people saw it. This whole experience was really traumatizing. I spoke with a lawyer about suing him but she said it wasn’t really possible. What he did was legal. Now I feel even more powerless.”

Congress needs to pass The DEFIANCE Act. Take action and stay up to date here: www.s-v-p-a.org/defiance.

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