House passes Rep. Baginski’s bill to prohibit synthetic media 90 days before elections


            STATE HOUSE – The House today passed legislation (2024-H 7387Aaa) sponsored by Rep. Jacquelyn Baginski that would prohibit the dissemination of “synthetic media” for 90 days before an election.      

            “Synthetic media” is defined as an image, an audio recording or a video recording of an individual’s appearance, speech or conduct that has been intentionally manipulated with the use of generative adversarial network techniques or other digital technology to create a realistic but false image, audio or video.

            “Times have changed and technology that has the ability to create fake audio or video of political candidates becomes more convincing every single day.  The creation of these recordings or video in order to fool voters is nothing but malicious deception and it has no place in free and fair elections.  This bill will protect voters from falling for outright mistruths and lies while also protecting the First Amendment rights of digital creators,” said Representative Baginski (D-Dist. 17, Cranston).

            The legislation would ban depictions of candidates that, to a reasonable individual, appear to be a real individual in terms of appearance, action, or speech, but that did not occur in reality and present a fundamentally different understanding or impression of the appearance, action, or speech than a reasonable person would have from the unaltered, original version of the image, audio recording or video recording.

            The prohibition would not apply if the creator of the image, audio recording or video recording includes a disclosure stating that the image has been manipulated or generated by artificial intelligence.

            The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.