By Anuradha Gandhi and Isha Sharma
In the contemporary landscape, the phenomenon of deepfakes has become an increasingly prevalent and concerning issue, with each passing day unveiling a new case that captures the public’s attention. Contrary to the popular belief and prevailing misconception that only celebrities fall victim to this deceptive technology, recent events underscored the broader societal implications. A case that has recently come to light exemplifies the grave consequences of AI generated deepfakes.
Cybercrime aided by Deepfakes
Highlighting the menacing potential of deepfake technology, criminals exploited it to fabricate a video featuring the face and voice of a retired IPS officer from Uttar Pradesh Police. The malicious intention behind this deepfake creation was to extort a vulnerable senior citizen, adding a new layer of sophistication to cyber fraud. The 76 year old man, terrorized by the convicting portrayal of the IPS officer, succumbed to the pressure and made repeated payments to the scammers.
What makes this case particularly concerning is the psychological duress inflicted upon the elderly victim. The scammers utilized a manipulated image, seemingly showing the victim soliciting illicit activities, coupled with threats of police action.
Promptly responding to the gravity of the situation, the police registered an FIR and initiated a thorough investigation. This case stands as one of the initial instances in the country where cyber fraud has taken a perilous turn, facilitated by the emergence of deepfake technology.
Moreover, a startling incident recently made headlines when a female employee discovered around 13000 nude photos of various women, including herself and other women colleagues, on a co-worker’s mobile phone. Disturbingly, she raised suspicions that some of these images had been manipulated or morphed. The potential repercussions of such a breach of privacy are immense, and the immense emotional distress on those involved cannot be underestimated. While we can only imagine the distress and anxiety this revealation might have caused, it is crucial to note that the organisation clarified that none of the firm’s devices were used in the manipulation of these photos. Despite the arrest of the accused, the incident has sent shockwaves through the society as a whole, prompting deep reflection on the importance of safeguarding individual privacy and the urgent need for robust measures.
Deepfake, a term encompassing digitally altered content-audio, video and images created through deep learning, has introduced a new dimension to fraudulent activities. As society grapples with the implications of this sophisticated technology, it becomes imperative for authorities to adapt and devise strategies to combat the evolving landscape of cyber threats.
One more Celebrity added to the list
The escalating controversy surrounding deepfake technology has heightened concerns regarding misinformation and privacy breaches. This issue gained significant prominence, particularly as numerous celebrities have fallen prey to it, involving Rashmika Mandanna, Katrina Kaif, Sara Tendulkar, etc.
Adding to this growing list of victims is a well renowned Bollywood actress, Alia Bhatt, who recently became the subject of deepfake manipulation. A fabricated video has been circulating in social media platforms wherein the face of the actress has been morphed and incorporated into the original footage of another woman. The manipulated clip shows the woman making obscene gestures to the camera. However, as of now the actress has not issued any response to the emerging controversy but the incident has once again sparked concern over the use of Artificial Intelligence, urging for prompt action in this regard.
As the nefarious use of deepfakes continues to pose a threat to the celebrity of digital content, the intrusion into the private lives of individuals and public figures raises alarming questions about the broader implication of this technology.
This incident underscores the urgency of addressing the ethical and legal dimensions of deepfake usage, necessitating a robust response to safeguard individuals and society as a whole, from malicious exploitation in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
Recently, the Union Government of India had proposed a legislation comprising of four pillars that is, detection, prevention, reporting and awareness along with more proactive and time-sensitive reporting mechanism in order to curb the menace of deepfakes and mitigate damage.
The Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Rajeev Chandrasekhar announced that the IT Ministry and the Centre will soon nominate a Rule Seven Officer, who shall be entrusted with a responsibility to handle issues pertaining to notices or allegations or reports of violation of law by the platforms.
In addition, amidst a growing surge in the misuse of social media, a trend exacerbated by the proliferation of deepfakes, the central government of India had recently issued a noteworthy advisory. This directive is specifically targeted at significant social media intermediaries, acknowledging the critical need to address the challenges arising from deceptive and manipulated content circulating on these platforms. To know more about what this advisory is, kindly refer to our article: https://ssrana.in/articles/deepfakes-and-breach-personal-data/