November 20, 2019

Cortez Masto, Moran Introduce Legislation to Combat ‘Deepfakes’

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) introduced bipartisan legislation to fund research into ways of detecting “deepfakes,” online videos that are manipulated to realistically mimic a person’s identity, to raise awareness and determine ways to combat the rising threat of this technology. Deepfakes can be used to misinform, scam, or harm a person’s reputation by falsely depicting them saying or doing negative things. The Identifying Outputs of Generative Adversarial Networks Act (IOGAN Act), directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to support research to accelerate the development of technologies that could help improve the detection of deepfakes.

“In the last decade, technology has completely revolutionized Americans’ lives,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Yet that innovation also requires Congress to ensure that we have guardrails in place to protect our country from the malicious use of technology. Recently, deepfake technologies have been used to spoof the voices of leaders in other countries, to spread misinformation during democratic elections and to confuse and defraud consumers. I’m introducing the Identifying Outputs of Generative Adversarial Networks Act so that we can understand how to better identify deepfake technology, devise comprehensive strategies to stop it and to ensure we’re educating Nevadans, and all Americans on ways they can protect themselves.”

“As technology continues to evolve, so do the complexity and frequency of digital threats to Americans,” said Senator Moran. “Deepfakes can be means for a variety of ill-intentioned uses, but the technology poses a specific threat to U.S. voters and consumers by way of misinformation that is increasingly difficult to identify. The Identifying Outputs of Generative Adversarial Networks Act will assist the federal government to effectively coordinate its efforts to address this threat by accelerating research and development of deepfake technology detection.”


The Identifying Outputs of Generative Adversarial Networks Act (IOGAN Act) instructs the Director of the National Science Foundation to support research on the outputs that may be produced by generative adversarial networks, otherwise known as deepfakes, and other comparable techniques that may be developed in the future. Additionally, the IOGAN Act directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology to work on setting measurements and standards relating to this technology, as well as develop a report on the feasibility of public-private partnerships to detect deepfakes.

Companion legislation has been introduced in the House by Representatives Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio).

The bill text can be found here.