Take a step to regulate deepfakes

Source– The post is based on the article “Take a step to regulate deepfakes” published in The Hindu on 14th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS3-Science and Technology

Relevance: Artificial Intelligence related issues

News- The article explains the need to regulate deepfakes.

What are Deepfakes?

Deepfakes leverage powerful techniques from machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to manipulate or generate visual and audio content with a high potential to deceive.

What are the issues associated with deepfakes?

First, deepfake videos can be used to spread misinformation and propaganda.

Second, there has been a history of using deepfakes to depict someone in a compromising and embarrassing situation. For instance, there is no dearth of deepfake pornographic material of celebrities.

Third, deepfakes have been used for financial fraud. Recently, scammers used AI-powered software to trick the CEO of a U.K. energy company over the phone into believing he was speaking with the head of the German parent company.

Fourth,Deepfakes can be used to influence elections. Recently, Taiwan’s cabinet approved amendments to election laws to punish the sharing of deepfake videos or images.

Fifth,Deepfakes can also be used to carry out espionage activities. Doctored videos can be used to blackmail government and defence officials into divulging state secrets.

What are the existing provisions related to deep fakes?

Section 500 of the IPC provides punishment for defamation.

Sections 67 and 67A of the Information Technology Act punish sexually explicit material in explicit form.

The Representation of the People Act, 1951, includes provisions prohibiting the creation or distribution of false or misleading information about candidates or political parties during an election period.

The Election Commission of India has set rules that require registered political parties and candidates to get pre-approval for all political advertisements on electronic media.

However, these rules do not address the potential dangers posed by deepfake content.

Why is there a need to regulate Deepfakes?

The lack of proper regulations creates avenues for individuals, firms and even non-state actors to misuse AI.

In India, the legal framework related to AI is insufficient to adequately address the various issues that have arisen due to AI algorithms.

The Union government should introduce separate legislation regulating the nefarious use of deepfakes and the broader subject of AI.

China is one of the few countries which has introduced regulations prohibiting the use of deepfakes deemed harmful to national security or the economy.

The proposed Digital India Bill can also address this issue. We can’t always rely on the policy of self-regulation.


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