India seeks to regulate deep fakes amid ethical concerns

India is drawing up rules to identify and limit the spread of deep media, a senior lawmaker said on Thursday.

Ashwini Vaishnaw, India’s IT Minister, said the ministry held meetings with all major social media companies and academia earlier in the day and reached a consensus that a regulation was needed to better to combat the proliferation and spread of deep videos.

“The companies share our concerns and they understand that this (deepfakes) is not free speech. They understand that this is something that is very harmful to society,” he said. “They understand the need for more comprehensive and regulation on this, so we agreed that we will start making the regulation right now.”

The ministry will be ready with “clear action items” on how to fight deep counterfeiters in 10 days, he said. The social media companies will hold a follow-up meeting with the ministry in early December on this issue, he said.

Deepfakes are synthetically generated media, often using AI, to realistically replace a person’s appearance or voice. Although sometimes entertaining, ethical concerns abound regarding consent and potential misinformation. The move by the IT ministry follows Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing concerns about deep dive videos last week.

“Deepfakes can spread faster without any checks and they go viral within minutes of their upload. That’s why we need to take urgent steps to strengthen social trust and protect our democracy,” Vaishnaw said in a press conference.

India's IT Minister along with executives from Meta, Google, Amazon and other companies

India’s IT Minister along with executives from Meta, Google, Amazon and other companies Image Credits: Press Bureau of India

Leave a comment