Take a step to regulate deepfakest – Analyzing the dangerous risks of AI | 14th January 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

It talks about the dangers of deepfakes, one of the manifestations of powerful AI.


  • GS3: Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life; GS3: Challenges to Internal Security through Communication Networks, Role of Media and Social Networking Sites in Internal Security Challenges, Basics of Cyber Security;
  • Prelims

What are Deepfakes?

  • Deepfakes are digital media – video, audio, and images edited and manipulated using Artificial Intelligence. It is basically hyper-realistic digital falsification.
  • The term deepfake originated in 2017, when an anonymous Reddit user called himself “Deepfakes.”
  • Deepfake content is created by using two competing AI algorithms – one is called the generator and the other is called the discriminator.
  • The generator, which creates the phony multimedia content, asks the discriminator to determine whether the content is real or artificial.
  • Together, the generator and discriminator form something called a generative adversarial network (GAN).
  • Each time the discriminator accurately identifies content as being fabricated, it provides the generator with valuable information about how to improve the next deepfake.

What are the issues with deepfakes?

  • Deepfake videos can be used to spread misinformation and propaganda. They seriously compromise the public’s ability to distinguish between fact and fiction.
  • It is used to defame famous personalities, e.g. deepfake pornographic material of celebrities.
  • Deepfakes have been used for financial fraud.
  • Liar’s Dividend: This refers to the idea that individuals can exploit the increasing awareness and prevalence of deepfake technology to their advantage by denying the authenticity of certain content.

Deepfakes can be used by our neighbours in following three negative ways to harm India:

  • To influence elections – e.g. fearing that China will use deepfakes to influence the elections in Taiwan, Taiwan’s cabinet approved amendments to election laws to punish the sharing of deepfake videos or images. This could happen in India’s upcoming general elections too.
  • Deepfakes can also be used to carry out espionage activities.
  • Deepfakes could be used to produce inflammatory material, such as videos purporting to show the armed forces or the police committing ‘crimes’ in areas with conflict. These deepfakes could be used to radicalise populations, recruit terrorists, or incite violence.

Currently following legal provisions are available in India to deal with misuse of deepfakes:

  • 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, including TV and social media sites, to help ensure their accuracy and fairness.
    However, these legal provisions are not sufficient to address the potential dangers posed by deepfake content.

Way Forward:

  • There is often a lag between new technologies and the enactment of laws to address the issues and challenges they create.
  • 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.
  • Legislation should not hamper innovation in AI, but it should recognise that deepfake technology may be used in the commission of criminal acts and should provide provisions to address the use of deepfakes in these cases.
  • The proposed Digital India Bill can also address this issue.

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