Being proactive with the ever-changing nature of technology is the focus of two bills proffered by Rep. Eric Lucero (R-Dayton).
Each was held over Tuesday by the House Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance Committee for possible omnibus bill inclusion. Neither has a Senate companion.
HF3425, as amended, would make it a gross misdemeanor to intentionally alter a digital photograph or recording of another person, or belonging to another person, with the intent to harm, defraud or maliciously misrepresent the subject or owner, and with the intent to cause a recipient to reasonably believe the subject or owner authorized or transmitted the change.
“A picture, video or audio recording used to be considered close to irrefutable proof an event or activity occurred,” Lucero said. “The ability and the confidence to trust our own eyes and ears is being eroded with modern-day technology.”
Already a challenge to combat, he said, technology changes are making make it even easier for people to doctor images and videos. Future changes may also make it forensically impossible to detect if a photo was digitally altered.
“This is something we definitely need to get ahead of to make it clear this is not permissible,” Lucero said.
Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn(DFL-Roseville) expressed concern the “very broad language” could have negative First Amendment implications for things like humor and comedy.
“Someone could take a picture (of somebody’s property) and put it on the internet and now it’s a public photo and the person who used the photo from the internet to make a meme or make something funny has no idea that the original poster didn’t have permission to do that,” she said.
“The challenge before us as this body is going to be how do we take the language and make it so narrow and specific … that it targets those who would take the pictures that would cause somebody to reasonably believe that the activity in the picture occurred with the intent to harm and defraud … while at the same time excluding the memes and the others that you’re touching on,” he said.
A cybersecurity specialist by trade, Lucero said he wants to make people aware of the issues, start a conversation — especially with attorneys on the committee — and work together to create statutory language.
The same is true of his other bill.
HF3209 would make it a misdemeanor to access an unsecured computer that contains personal data.
I don’t want someone to engage in nefarious actions by texting or sending email or browsing malicious websites because someone else unintentionally left their phone open, he said. Current law makes it a crime to intentionally and without authorization attempt or penetrate a security system.
While the committee expressed general support for the bill, some issues were also raised that could be further addressed, such as clarifying that a child using a computer with their parent’s permission, but doing something inadvertently, would not be considered a crime.
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