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Lawmakers seek guardrails around digitally-altered images, video or audio of election candidates

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Government, Politics, Technology
Rep. Julie Olthoff (R-Crown Point) said people deserve to know whether what they see in campaign material is "truth or fiction." (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Indiana lawmakers want to address images, video and audio of election candidates that are digitally altered or faked.

HB 1133 says any image, video or audio of a candidate that’s altered or faked without their consent and is hard to tell has been altered or faked could not be used in a campaign unless it includes a disclaimer that says it has been altered or artificially generated.

Rep. Julie Olthoff (R-Crown Point) is the measure’s author.

“People have the right to know whether what they are seeing, hearing or reading is the truth or fiction,” Olthoff said.

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Under the bill, if the disclaimer isn’t included, the candidate depicted in that campaign material can sue whoever paid for or sponsored the campaign material.

The House Elections and Apportionment Committee unanimously approved the measure Wednesday. Rep. Tanya Pfaff (D-Terre Haute) did note that she’d like to see the bill expanded to cover digitally-altered media of elected officials at all times, not just during elections.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.