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AI and Deepfakes: Unveiling Threats for You and Govt's Stern Advisory

Is public trust at risk with the surge of AI-generated deepfakes? The govt issues a stern advisory to combat the multifaceted threats. Explore potential risks, from misinformation to privacy breaches, and MeitY's proactive measures. Read on!

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Swati Dayal
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DeepFake and Modi

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ArtificiaI Intelligence (AI) and deepfakes have the potential to be highly destructive for general people as well as to the nation, especially at a time when the country is headling towars General Elections next year. 

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Why Deep Fake is Deep Dangerous?

The threats of Deef Fake and unregulated AI was always know. But the public became acutely aware of these threats after a deepfake video featuring actress Rashmika Mandanna went viral on social media. Originally, the video was of British-Indian social media personality Zara Patel.

Rashmika Deepfake

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Deepfakes of several other celebrities including Kajol, Alia Bhatt, Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif and even business tycoon Ratan Tata and more surfaced on the internet in the past couple of months.These incidents triggered concerns about the vast influence of AI-generated content and the need for robust legislation.

This is the known threat. But some harms, encompassing threats to national security, child pornography, disinformation, and more, highlight the potential risks posed by Deep Fake and AI technologies. From personal information misuse to impersonation and commercial fraud, these concerns underscore the need for stringent measures to combat the multifaceted challenges emerging from the misuse of artificial intelligence.

Govt Actively Steps In For Digital Safety of Public

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In a significant move to safeguard the digital landscape from the perils of deepfake content, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has issued a stern advisory to all intermediaries, urging them to comply with existing IT rules. This marks the second advisory within a span of one month, signalling the government's intolerance toward the misuse of platforms for spreading fake videos.

"On 17th November, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi alerted the country to the dangers of deepfakes and post that, the Ministry has had two Digital India Dialogues with all the stakeholders of the Indian Internet to alert them about the provisions of the IT Rules notified in October 2022, and amended in April 2023 that lays out 11 specific prohibited types of content on all social media intermediaries & platforms,” Union Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Electronics & IT, and Jal Shakti, Rajeev Chandrasekhar said.

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The Rising Threat of Deepfakes

Addressing the issue, Union Minister Chandrasekhar, emphasized the profound threat that misinformation, particularly deepfakes powered by artificial intelligence (AI), poses to the safety and trust of internet users. 

Chandrasekhar stated, "Misinformation represents a deep threat to the safety and trust of users on the Internet. Deepfake, which is misinformation powered by AI, further amplifies the threat to safety and trust of our Digital Nagriks."

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MeitY's Advisory on Deepfake Crackdown

The advisory issued by MeitY on December 26, 2023, specifically targets concerns surrounding misinformation powered by AI, focusing on the growing threat of deepfakes. The advisory outlines the agreed-upon procedures to ensure that users on these platforms adhere to the prohibited content guidelines outlined in Rule 3(1)(b) of the IT rules.

"A formal advisory has been issued incorporating the 'agreed to' procedures to ensure that users on these platforms do not violate the prohibited content in Rule 3(1)(b)…If such legal violations of the IT rules are noted or reported, then the consequences under law will follow," stated Minister Chandrasekhar.

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Government's Swift Action and 7-Day Window

Recognizing the threats posed by deepfakes, the Government of India has taken swift action by cautioning social media platforms to comply with IT rules within a 7-day window. Failure to comply will result in the government assisting citizens in filing FIRs against violators.

Advisory Mandates Clear Communication and Compliance

The advisory mandates that intermediaries clearly and precisely communicate prohibited content, especially those specified under Rule 3(1)(b) of the IT Rules, to users.

It is the result of discussions held by Rajeev Chandrasekhar during Digital India dialogues with intermediaries within the past month.

Additionally, intermediaries are required to ensure that users are informed about penal provisions, including those in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the IT Act 2000, in case of Rule 3(1)(b) violations. The terms of service and user agreements must highlight the obligation of intermediaries to report legal violations to law enforcement agencies under relevant Indian laws.

Government's Commitment to Internet Safety

Minister Chandrasekhar emphasized the government's commitment to ensuring the safety and trust of Digital Nagriks using the Indian Internet.

He stated, "MeitY will closely observe the compliance of intermediaries in the coming weeks and follow this up with further amendments to the IT Rules and/or the law if and when required."

As the government strives to fulfill Prime Minister Narendra Modi's mission of a safe and trusted internet, all intermediaries are held accountable under the law for maintaining the safety and trust of digital citizens.

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