Nick DiCeglie seeks to mitigate misinformation in campaigns through new AI legislation
Nick DiCeglie makes big bank for his Senate bid.

Nick DiCeglie Campaign 2022
The bill would require disclaimers on political advertisements using AI-generated content.

Sen. Nick DiCeglie has filed legislation (SB 850) that would require disclaimers on any political advertisement or electioneering communication that utilizes artificial intelligence.

The legislation is in response to advancements in artificial intelligence DiCeglie says has outpaced government regulation.

Artificial intelligence, or AI, has been increasingly used to create what have become known as “deepfakes,” content that creates an image or series of images depicting things that did not happen.

Bloomberg reported in September that such content in political campaigns has become “the wild west for campaign lawyers.” The report points to an altered clip of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren depicting her as saying that GOP votes “could threaten the integrity of the election,” and another from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign using a deepfake of former President Donald Trump, his top rival for the GOP nomination, hugging and kissing former White House medical advisor Anthony Fauci.

DiCeglie wants to ensure transparency in politicking by ensuring voters know if something has been generated by AI.

“The increasing access to sophisticated AI-generated content threatens the integrity of elections by facilitating the dissemination of misleading or completely fabricated information that appears more realistic than ever,” DiCeglie said. “The technology that produces this content has advanced rapidly and outpaced government regulation.”

He said his bill “will address the rising concern of deceptive campaign advertising by mandating disclaimers” on ads that include AI-generated content, whether in part or in whole.

The bill defines “generative artificial intelligence” as “a machine-based system that can, for a given set of human-defined objectives, emulate the structure and characteristics of input data in order to generate derived synthetic content, including images, video, audio, text and other digital content.”

It adds that if an ad “of a political nature” contains AI-generated content that “appears to depict a real person performing an action that did not actually occur,” it must “prominently” display a disclaimer stating that it was “created in whole or in part with the use of generative artificial intelligence.”

The bill prescribes penalties for violations established under existing state statute regarding civil penalties that allows a fine of up to $2,500 per count for the first three offenses, and $7,500 for the fourth and subsequent offenses.

Under the proposed law, an individual may file a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission alleging a violation. The bill also calls for the Elections Commission to “adopt rules to provide an expedited hearing of complaints” or, in cases before the Division of Administrative Hearings, to have the director assign an administrative law judge to provide an expedited hearing.

Rep. Alex Rizo plans to file a House companion.

If approved and signed by the Governor, it would take effect July 2, 2024. That effective date, it’s worth noting, is after Florida voters will cast a ballot in Presidential Primary, which is March 19.

Florida would be the second state, joining Washington, to outlaw deepfakes long before an election occurs. California, Michigan, Texas and Minnesota have laws in place, but only for periods ranging from 30-90 days before an election, according to Bloomberg.

DiCeglie’s proposed law would also go further by applying to the depiction of any “real person” rather than just a “candidate,” as other laws stipulate.

At least six other states have proposed similar legislation, including Wisconsin, New Hampshire and New York, according to Bloomberg.

Meta, which owns Facebook, announced last month that it would begin requiring disclosures on political ads utilizing AI-generated content.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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