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HomeTechnology and CybersecurityArtificial IntelligencePM Modi, Sara Tendulkar victims of deepfakes!

PM Modi, Sara Tendulkar victims of deepfakes!

The Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology and Communications, Ashwini Vaishnaw declared deepfakes to be a threat on this Thursday. Previously, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged media persons to educate the people about the negative effects of artificial intelligence, to spread harmful content and misinformation of individuals via deepfakes on the internet.

Deepfakes refer to synthetic or doctored media that is digitally manipulated and altered to convincingly misrepresent or impersonate someone, using a form of artificial intelligence. A meeting was chaired today by minister Vaishnaw with social media platforms and stakeholders, on the issue of deepfakes during concerns over misuse of technology and the government’s firm resolve to tackle it. Social media companies, NASSCOM, and professors working on artificial intelligence (AI) were also present in the meeting. The Union minister for IT, has stated that a new framework is in the works, also considering a new legislation to ensure that the deepfakes or misinformation at large do not post threats to the people. The government will in 10 days issue draft rules to tackle deepfake videos and images, said Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday, proposing to tackle the menace with penalties on creators and platforms.

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The government is considering penalising persons who upload or create deepfakes and platforms that host such content. He further said that the immediate “four pillars” of focus will be detecting deepfakes and misinformation; preventing their spread, strengthening reporting mechanisms, and creating awareness. “All companies and all the platforms and the industry shared our concern. They understood that this is not free speech, and this is something which is harmful for society.

They understand the need for a heavier regulation for this. We will start drafting the regulation today itself.” Several ‘deepfake’ videos targeting leading actors have gone viral on social media platforms in the recent past, sparking public outrage and raising concerns over the misuse of technology for creating fake narrative in the recent weeks. Last Friday, a video of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was seen on the web, where he was allegedly showed performing the traditional Gujarati dance, garba. Upon this incident, the prime minister termed it a serious threat, as it holds the potential to spread misinformation. Recently, a controversy erupted after a video of actor Rashmika Mandanna entering an elevator went viral on social media.

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The original video featured a British Indian person, and their face was morphed to insert Mandanna’s face instead. Sara Tendulkar, daughter of Sachin Tendulkar, made a post on Instagram where she demanded X (previously Twitter) to take action on the deepfake images of her. She also confirmed that she had no official account on X and the deepfakes have been created with an intent of misleading people. “Entertainment should never come at the expense of the truth. Let’s encourage communication that’s based in trust and reality,” Sara Tendulkar’s Instagram post read. The original snap was of Sara Tendulkar and her brother Arjun Tendulkar, the distorted image showed her along with young cricketer Shubman Gill. Multiple accounts using the name Sara Tendulkar exist, and a recent imposter account has garnered significant attention, amassing over 250 thousand followers. According to recent media reports, this fraudulent account not only shared deep fake images of Sara but also went to the extent of sending messages to individuals in her close circle. Earlier this month, The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had sent advisories to social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, to take down deepfakes. It had mentioned Section 66D of the Information Technology Act, which entails punishment for cheating by personation by using computer resources with imprisonment of up to three years and a fine up to Rs 1 lakh. Union Minister Vaishnaw further said that, “Technology can detect deepfakes, but miscreants have found a way around watermarking and labelling of videos and images.

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The new regulations will be applicable on all deepfake videos shown in India. The companies have agreed on the need for clear actionable work in areas such as detection, prevention, strengthening of reporting mechanism, and raising user awareness. After today’s meeting, the minster said that, “We will have our next meeting in the first week of December…that will be on follow-up action on today’s decisions, and also on what should be included in the draft regulation.” Sources : Times of India, The Indian Express, Live Mint and various other news agencies.

By Soujanya Das Roy, From Kolkata Reporting for True To Life

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