Minority Office — Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 2022
Senate Passes Leader Book Bill to Combat Cyber Trafficking, Deepfakes
The bill was unanimously approved today by the Florida Senate; companion bill on second reading in the House
Today, the Florida Senate passed a bill by Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book designed to curb the growing endemic of "cyber trafficking" – a practice where both real, stolen images and created “deepfake” images are uploaded to the Internet for people to buy, sell, trade, and exploit.
"The law has simply not caught up with technology," explains Senator Book, who was recently victimized by an exploitive digital sex crime. "This bill will transform the way the state of Florida prosecutes and enforces ‘cyber trafficking,’ where images are uploaded to the darkest corners of the Internet for people to buy, sell, trade, and use however else they see fit. Horrifically, once these images are online, they never truly go away."
As unanimously approved by the Florida Senate today, SB 1798, would:
Prohibit someone from knowingly, willfully, and maliciously disseminating "deepfake" sexually explicit images without the victim's consent
Establish new standards for our state's "revenge porn" statute by criminalizing the theft of sexually explicit images off another person's phone or digital device with the intent to distribute or benefit from them in some way
Increase existing civil damages where victims will now be entitled to seek up to $10,000 in damages against the individual who has willfully and knowingly chosen to inflict this kind of intimate terror
Supported by law enforcement agencies and survivors alike, the bill addresses the new phenomenon of “deepfakes” (created images and videos which appear alarmingly real), which are growing exponentially online, doubling every six months. Of the 85,000 circulating online, 90 percent of deepfake photos and videos depict non-consensual porn featuring women.
One victim of deepfake images, Hallendale Beach Commissioner Sabrina Javellana, testified on the bill in committee, stating: “I was scared and confused and I didn’t know what to do.
it’s had a lot of impact on my life, my mental health, my professional career.”
"Every single state in the country should be updating their laws to reflect new threats that exist in the digital world," says Senator Book. "By updating the law to identify cyber trafficking and acknowledge the existence of deepfake images, we have given victims of these crimes hope that they will be heard and that bad actors will be held criminally accountable."
A survivor of childhood sexual abuse and longtime advocate for children, Senator Book is the founder and CEO of Lauren’s Kids – a nonprofit that works to prevent sexual abuse and help survivors heal.
“Never in a million years could I imagine that I would once again become the victim of a sex crime,” said Senator Book. “It’s time to give victims some hope and bad actors a reason to think twice – not for me, but for the hundreds and thousands of other Floridians who fall victim to these dehumanizing and heinous acts.”
The measure is expected to pass in the Florida House in the coming days.