Government planning new rules for hosting deepfakes: IT Minister

The government is planning new rules that could impose fines on both creators and platforms hosting deepfakes as it looks to crack down on what IT and Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishya described as a “threat to democracy”.

Amid complaints by some celebrities about their faces being manipulated in another video, new security rules are being considered, including watermarking AI-generated content, detecting deepfakes, rules for data bias, Measures such as confidentiality and protection against concentration will be looked into.

“Deepfakes have emerged as a new threat to democracy. They erode trust in society and its institutions,” Vaishnav said after a meeting with various stakeholders, including social media platforms, Nasscom and other professors in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Can weaken.” ,

“We will start drafting regulations today and within a very short time frame we will have a separate regulation for deepfakes,” he said.

He said the government will come up with actionable things within 10 days on four pillars – detecting deepfakes, stopping the spread of such content, strengthening reporting mechanisms and spreading awareness on the issue.

All stakeholders present at the meeting shared similar concerns regarding deepfakes, he said. “All social media platforms agreed to have comprehensive technology in place to detect deepfakes.” India has more than 80 crore Internet users, which is expected to increase to more than 120 crore in two years. Deepfake is a piece of technology that uses AI to alter a person’s appearance, voice, or actions in a way that is realistic and challenging to recreate from authentic, unaltered content. Recent deepfakes have highlighted the urgency of a regulatory framework for AI in the new Digital India law.

Vaishnav said that deepfake advertisements or misleading propaganda is a threat that Indian society is currently facing.

“The use of social media ensures that deepfakes can spread faster and go viral in a more significant way without any restrictions. This is why we need to lose trust in society and our democracy,” he told reporters here. There is a need to take immediate steps to strengthen.”

Deepfakes came into prominence after actor Rashmika Mandanna’s face was found to be used in an embarrassing video earlier this month. Some other celebrities including Katrina Kaif and Kajol were also reported to be victims of deepfakes.

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also warned about the threat of deepfakes.

On Saturday, Vaishnav warned that if social media platforms fail to take steps against deepfakes, they will lose the immunity they get under the ‘safe harbor’ section in the Information and Technology Act. The clause states that an online platform cannot be held responsible for the content shared on it by users.

After a meeting with stakeholders on Thursday, he said deepfake video makers have found ways to crack labeling and watermarks as well. “Thus, there has to be something that can find a way out of this.” The next meeting on this subject will be held in the first week of December.

Within the next 10 days, the government will come out with clear actionable items on four pillars – detection (of deepfakes, misinformation), how to stop the spread of misinformation, how to strengthen the reporting mechanism, (in-app reporting mechanism to be strengthened) ) and raise awareness, the minister said.

“All the companies have shared our concerns. They have understood that this is not free speech, this is very harmful… They have understood the need for much stricter regulation,” he said. “The use of social media is ensuring that deepfakes can spread quite quickly without any scrutiny and they are going viral within minutes of being uploaded.

The Minister said that very important steps need to be taken to strengthen trust in the society and protect our democracy. “There is a need to take immediate action on this, whether it is legal, regulatory or technical action, we need to take all possible steps,” he said.

Asked whether there would be a change in the existing rules or a new law could be brought, he said, “We can bring it as an amendment to the existing rules or we can bring a new set of rules.”

“We also discussed watermarking and labeling. Everyone agreed that we have to do it, this is the basic minimum that everyone has to do,” he said. “When we draft the regulation we will also look at the punishment for the person who uploaded or created the platform. We are saying that the government should come up with the regulation to strengthen detection, prevention, reporting mechanisms and create awareness. And using technologies for deepfakes and AI-generated content that could be harmful to society.

Until regulation is made, social media platforms and companies promised to take all possible measures to prevent the spread of deepfakes. “They all said they are taking steps internally and they would like to increase the intensity of those steps,” he said.

Stating that both freedom of expression and privacy are important for the government, he said both these structures are being weakened with deepfakes. “So the new regulation is for deep fakes and AI-generated content not to be harmful to society.” Giving the example of deepfake, the minister said that during the election campaign in Madhya Pradesh, a video had surfaced in which the Chief Minister was talking about voting for the opposite party.

“That was completely misinformation, deeply fake and deeply misinformed. We have to address that, plus we have to make sure that the people who created it are identified and have their own set of penalties, At the same time, the platforms that are the tools through which this content is created and disseminated also need to take responsibility for what they are allowing on their platforms.

“Detecting deepfakes is very important. It is very important to distinguish between synthetic and deepfake content,” he said.


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