A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

KY Rep. Josh Branscum discusses how state is addressing data privacy, deep fakes in elections

By Jaqueline Pitts
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

How companies collect and process online user data has been an increasingly hot topic among state legislatures in recent years, and Kentucky is no different.

In 2023, a bill dealing with data privacy passed the state Senate but did not receive approval from the House. That bill was opposed by the Kentucky Chamber because it would have created new and costly compliance burdens on businesses. Senate Bill 15 from 2023 also featured key differences from recent data privacy bills approved in other states, making Kentucky an outlier and further burdening employers who conduct business in multiple states.

Rep. Josh Branscum (Photo form LRC)

On Friday, state Rep. Josh Branscum filed House Bill 15 that takes a different approach to data privacy by modeling the legislation after laws passed in border states like Virginia, Indiana, and Tennessee to make for more seamless compliance in the absence of a federal law.

At the Kentucky Chamber’s inaugural AI Summit on Monday, Branscum spoke with The Bottom Line about what led him to file the legislation.

“I think consumers deserve the right to know what data is being collected, what that data is being used for, is it being sold. You should have the opportunity to say I do not want you collecting data on me or it’s fine and then at the end of the day you should have the opportunity to make sure that that data is deleted and to show proof that data has been deleted,” Branscum said.

Branscum also spoke to the rise of artificial intelligence, specifically touching on deep fakes in the elections process. In the absence of a federal law to regulate AI, some states are taking action by requiring a disclaimer that AI was used. Other states are preventing the use of AI in political campaigns altogether within 60 days of an election. Branscum said Kentucky is looking at options that help protect voters.

“It’s getting so good and so efficient that with these deep fakes, it is getting very hard to tell what is reality. And a voter could be very well deceived if they were to see one of these videos or a picture. And so, we’re really having to take a look at from a legislative standpoint, what is some legislation we could put in place to protect voters and to make sure that we keep that integrity with our election process,” Branscum said.

Watch the full interview with Rep. Branscum below to hear his thoughts on other technology issues lawmakers are watching, how AI could help make state government more effective, and more:

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