Mother of 14-year-old victimized in deep fake pornographic video works with Morelle to make it a federal crime

Effort to make sexually explicit deep fakes a federal crime

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The mother of a 14-year-old girl whose fake image was used in a pornographic video is talking to us tonight. One of the reasons why is, she’s working with Rep. Joe Morelle, to make what happened to her daughter a federal crime.

Brean: “What motivates you to speak out like you are right now on what is a very private, sensitive matter in your family?”
Dorota Mani, New Jersey: “There are so many aspects. It’s so complex. So first of all, my daughter asked me. And I believe as grown-ups, women and mothers, we should not wait for a tragedy to happen before something is done.”
Dorota Mani’s daughter was one of the high school girls in New Jersey whose deep fake images were used in a pornographic video published in October.

A neighborhood sidewalk chalk protest ensued, and it motivated Mani and her daughter to speak publicly.

“And her approach was, I have nothing to be ashamed. They should be ashamed. And she’s right,” Mani said.

Mani spoke with Rep. Morelle, who wrote a law that would make the use of deep fakes with a person’s permission a federal crime.

Brean: “So this is not against the law right now?”
Morelle: “Correct. It’s sort of shocking that it’s not, but partly because the advent of the technology is relatively new.”
Over the past week, I showed you the University of Rochester grad student who won a national grant for his research on how to detect deep fakes. We showed you just how easy it is to clone someone’s voice using mine as an example. And we showed you the local voice actor whose livelihood is threatened by this.

“That technology is out there, man!” said Tim Powers. “And it’s eating away at my career and it’s coming for your personal privacy.”

Morelle’s bill is narrowly defined to include sexually explicit videos and photos, but that’s where they find 96 percent of the deep fakes.

“So this is really a way to get at the lion’s share and also sends a message to people — this is serious business,” he said.

Morelle’s bill is in the early stages in Congress.

Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill to make it a crime in New York in October.