Take a step to regulate deepfakes

Take a step to regulate deepfakes

#GS-03 Cybersecurity

For Prelims


  • Deepfakes are synthesised media that are either wholly generated or manipulated by Artificial Intelligence.
  • They can include images, audio and video and are used to show real people saying and doing things they never did, or creating new images and videos.
  • Deepfakes are used to tarnish reputations, create mistrust, question facts, and spread propaganda.
  • The word ‘deepfake’ is a combination of ‘deep learning’ which is a subset of the artificial intelligence and the word ‘fake’.
  • India has not enacted any specific legislation to deal with deepfakes so far.
  • Currently, most social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter have banned deepfake videos.
  • They have declared that if they detect any video as deepfake manipulated or synthetically generated, it will be taken down.


For Mains

Threat of Deepfakes

  • Legal ambiguity, coupled with a lack of accountability and oversight creates avenues for individuals, firms and even non-state actors to misuse AI.
  • They compromise the public’s ability to distinguish between fact and fiction and can be used to spread misinformation and propaganda.
  • Deepfake have been commonly used to misrepresent/malign well-known politicians in videos.
  • This technology is being increasingly used for creating fake news, hoaxes, and committing financial fraud.
  • Photographs generated through deepfakes can be used to create sock puppetse., non-existent persons, who are active both online and in traditional media.
  • 96% of deepfakes were pornographic videos and 99% of those mapped faces from female celebrities on to porn stars.
  • These not only amount to an invasion of privacy of the people reportedly in those videos, but reach to the status of harassment.

Measures taken by other countries

  • Taiwan has approved amendments to its election laws and has made the sharing of deepfake videos or images punishable.
  • China is also one of the few countries which has introduced regulations prohibiting the use of deepfakes which are deemed harmful to national security or to the economy.

Measures taken by India

  • Very few provisions under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Information Technology Act, 2000 can be potentially used to deal with the malicious use of deepfakes.
  • These include
  • Section 500 of the IPC which pertains to punishment for defamation.
  • Sections 67 and 67A of the Information Technology Act which is used to punish those who spread sexually explicit material in explicit form.
  • The Representation of the People Act, 1951, includes provisions which prohibit the creation or distribution of false or misleading information about candidates or political parties during the period of an election.
  • The Election Commission of India has made rules which make it mandatory for registered political parties and candidates to get pre-approval for all political advertisements on electronic media, including TV and social media sites.

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