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Shaheen Urges Department of Justice and CISA to Address AI-Generated Deepfake Technology and Its Impact on the Democratic Process After New Hampshire Voters Received Fake Robocalls Ahead of Primary

(Washington, DC) –U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) sent a letter to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) urging them to jointly address AI-generated deepfake technologies and the threat they pose to the democratic process. Shaheen’s letter, which was sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland and CISA Director Jen Easterly, came in response to New Hampshire voters receiving deepfake robocalls that impersonated President Biden and advised them not to vote ahead of the state’s primary election last month. 

In part, Shaheen wrote, “I am convinced the proliferation of disinformation and misinformation about our elections and political system pose one of the gravest threats facing the United States today. I am concerned that future uses of deepfake technology will be harder to detect and fend off as AI technology progresses. The federal government should use all the authority at its disposal to find and punish those using AI and related technology to break the law.”

Shaheen concluded, “As the federal government works to address the risks posed by rapidly developing AI technologies, preserving the integrity of the election process and protecting the fundamental right to vote is paramount. I trust that the DOJ and CISA share this concern, and I look forward to hearing how the two agencies plan to address this critical threat to our democracy. I would appreciate your collectively providing my staff and me with periodic updates on these joint efforts.”

The full text of the letter can be found here.

Shaheen has long supported Congressional action to protect election integrity in our country. Last year, Shaheen reintroduced an amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision, which removed campaign finance restrictions and enabled entities to spend unlimited money to influence elections. In addition, Shaheen and a group of Senators led by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the Election Worker Protection Act, which would provide states with the resources to recruit and train election workers to help ensure their safety, while also instituting federal safeguards to shield election workers from intimidation and threats. In 2022, Shaheen helped introduce and pass two proposals that included legislation to reform and modernize the outdated Electoral Count Act of 1887 to ensure that the electoral votes tallied by Congress accurately reflect each state’s vote for President. In 2021, Shaheen helped reintroduce the DISCLOSE Act, legislation that would require organizations spending money in federal elections to disclose their donors and help guard against hidden foreign influence in our democracy.