ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Congressman Morelle announced legislation on Tuesday to boost online privacy by banning non-consensual “deepfakes” of intimate images.

A deepfake is a term referring to an altered picture or video of a person so they appear to look like somebody else. According to a 2019 report, 96% of online deepfake videos were pornographic and targeted toward women.

Morelle said that, while the videos are fake, the impact is real — which is why he authored the “Preventing Deepfakes of Intimate Images Act.”

“As technology and artificial intelligence continue to evolve, it’s critical that we take proactive steps to combat disinformation and protect individuals from harm or compromising situations online,” Morelle said. “The spread of altered images can cause irrevocable emotional, financial, and reputational harm — and unfortunately, women are disproportionately impacted.”

The mission of the act is to make the sharing of such deepfakes a criminal offense, ensure that one’s consent doesn’t establish consent for sharing the image, create a right of private action for victims, and preserve a plaintiff’s anonymity.

SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher is an advocate of protections for vulnerable groups. She said she has been a victim of inappropriate deepfakes and praised Morelle’s legislation.

“With great technology comes great responsibility. As we cheer on new advancements in the creative arts, we must never lose sight of the dark side of tech and the people it can harm,” Drescher said. “Make no mistake, deepfakes is a violation, objectification, and exploitation, but it’s also counterfeit and must be made illegal and punishable by law. This bill is a powerful step to ensure that new and exciting technology is not used to cause obvious and irreparable harm.”