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Senator Steinhardt introduces bill updating identify theft law to include impersonation using AI and deepfake technology

NEW JERSEY – Senator Doug Steinhardt has introduced legislation that updates New Jersey’s identify theft law to include fraudulent impersonation using artificial intelligence (AI) or deepfake technology.

“As artificial intelligence tools have grown increasingly more powerful and available to the general public, they’ve opened the door for scammers to commit shockingly disturbing new crimes involving identity theft,” said Steinhardt (R-23). “With very little technical expertise, scammers can download pictures or video of a person from online sources and run it through AI tools to imitate their voice or generate realistic video of the person saying or doing things that never happened. It’s leading to new scams that put both the imitated victim and other parties, including relatives, at risk.”

Fox Business recently highlighted how voice-cloning scams are on the rise. In one scheme, fraudsters use AI technology to clone a person’s voice and call relatives for money.

According to one expert, it only takes 20-seconds of video of a person downloaded from their social media account to accurately clone their voice.

Similarly, deepfake videos can be produced using AI tools that make it appear as if a person has engaged in activity that did not actually occur.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned this week that scammers are using downloaded pictures to generate deepfake pornography that is used to blackmail victims in “sextortion” schemes.

“It should alarm everyone that you can get a call that sounds exactly like a child, grandchild, or friend asking for help or money, but it’s not really them,” Steinhardt said. “Imagine receiving a pornographic picture or video in your inbox of someone who looks just like you with the warning that it’ll be shared with your friends, relatives, and co-workers unless you pay up. While these horrific acts may sound like science fiction, they are happening to victims today. Technology is often a step or two ahead of the law, and we clearly need to catch up to combat these new forms of AI-assisted crimes.”

Steinhardt’s new legislation, S-3926, extends the crime of identity theft to include fraudulent impersonation or false depiction by means of artificial intelligence or deepfake technology.

Depending on the severity of the crime in terms of monetary value or the number of victims, it could be graded as a second-, third-, or fourth-degree offense.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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