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Idaho Legislature introduces new bill banning explicit AI media to harass or extort victims

Idaho State Capitol building
Otto Kitsinger for the Idaho Capital Sun
Idaho State Capitol building

If passed into law, a first violation would be a misdemeanor; second violation in five years would be a felony

A new bill introduced Thursday afternoon in the Idaho Legislature would make it a crime to use sexually explicit images generated by artificial intelligence to harass victims or extort money from the victim depicted.

The Idaho Legislature’s House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee voted to introduce the bill, which Rep. Julianne Young, R-Blackfoot, sponsored.

If the bill is passed into law, it would become a crime to use sexually explicit synthetic media, such as images or videos generated by AI, to “annoy, terrify, threaten, intimidate, harass, offend, humiliate or degrade an identifiable individual depicted by the media.” It would also be a crime to possess and threaten to disclose AI generated media with the intent to obtain money or other valuable considerations from a person portrayed in the images or media.

“The purpose of this legislation is to address the recent rise in malicious actors using AI technology to create deep fakes of victims for the purpose of harassment or sexual extortion,” Young said during the bill’s introductory hearing.

The bill defines “explicit synthetic media” in part as synthetic media that depicts or appears to depict an identifiable individual engaged in sexual conduct or depicts the genitals or intimate parts of an identifiable individual.

Rep. Marco Erickson, an Idaho Falls Republican and longtime psychologist who has provided mental health services to families in Eastern Idaho, thanked Young for bringing the bill forward.

“Many of my local school resource officers and sheriffs tell me that this has been a serious problem all around the state, including our small little community and surrounding area, so this is a very important piece of legislation,” Erickson said during Thursday’s hearing.

If the bill becomes law, a first violation would be considered a misdemeanor while a second violation within five years would be a felony.

Thursday’s meeting was only an introductory hearing and no public comment was accepted over the bill. Introducing the bill clears the way for it to return to the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee for a full public hearing.

The new bill is expected to be assigned an official bill number and posted on the Idaho Legislature’s website on Friday after it is read across the desk in the Idaho House of Representatives.

Idaho Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Idaho Capital Sun maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Christina Lords for questions: Follow Idaho Capital Sun on Facebook and Twitter.