Govt moves for strict action against deepfakes, amended IT rules by next week

Responsibility of taking down deepfakes lies with platforms, says minister

Deepfakes IT rules Rajeev Chandrasekhar | Rahul R. Pattom

In the wake of rising deepfakes, the Information Technology Ministry is gearing to form tighter IT rules to tackle the menace. According to Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the amended IT rules will be notified in a week.

The Minister of State for IT and Electronics Chandrasekhar said the “core responsibility” of detecting and taking down the deepfakes lies with the platforms and its intermediaries. Therefore, any inaction or casual response on their part will lead to take actions against them including blocking.

After deepfake videos targeting leading actors including Rashmika Mandanna surfaced online platforms, the government had urged the social media platforms to take necessary actions.

Centre had issued directions to platforms to immediately crack down manipulated and deepfake videos created using AI, that’s being circulated on social media, after the public outrage. An advisory was issued to the social media and online platforms on deepfakes. Chandrasekhar said that it was pointed out if these advisories were not followed, new IT rules would follow.

"There has been a mixed performance of compliance and I had said at the time of the advisory, that if we find that the advisory is not being followed through completely, we will follow it up with a very clear amended IT rules that will be notified," said Chandrasekhar.

The amended IT rules will come up in the next one week, he added. "What was in the advisory will now be firmly embedded into the IT rules and we hope to do this in the next one week," he said.

Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar was the latest victim of the deepfake video. In the video, that went viral in the social media on Sunday, Tendulkar was seen promoting an app called "Skyward Aviator Quest" and even claims that his daughter is earning good money through the app.

Reacting to the video, Tendulkar said "It was disturbing to see rampany misuse of technology. Request everyone to report videos, ads and apps like these in large numbers."

Deepfakes refer to synthetic media that is digitally manipulated and altered to convincingly misrepresent or impersonate someone using a form of AI.

Detailing the efforts taken by the government in tackling the issue, Chandrasekhar said the Centre has done two rounds of Digital India dialogues with intermediaries (platforms), drawing their attention to current rules and cautioning them about consequences of non-compliance. Though the current IT rules already prohibit misinformation and deepfakes, the the government through the its advisories prescribed specific actions including amendment of `terms of use'.

Earlier, Chandrasekhar had said that for a large, connected nation like India, deepfakes and misinformation represent a "very problematic issue".

(With PTI inputs)

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