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Govt To Come Up With Regulations To Tackle Deepfakes: Ashwini Vaishnaw

Mumbai: Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday said the government will come up with new regulations to deal with deepfakes, adding that deepfakes have emerged as a new threat to democracy.

“Social media platforms agree that clear actionable work is needed to detect, prevent deepfakes and strengthen reporting,” he added.

The next meeting with stakeholders will be held in December.

The “four pillars” that will be the focus of attention are: identifying deepfakes; stopping the spread of such content; reporting on these, including strengthening current mechanisms and compliance by social media platforms even in cases where a single user raises such concerns; and raising awareness on social media, in government and private organizations.

“Deepfakes are the new threat to democracy and weaken trust in society. We will start drafting regulations today onwards, and within a short time, perhaps the next few weeks, we will have a new set of regulations….. this could be in the form of amending existing framework or bringing new rules, or new law,” Vaishnaw said while addressing the media post a meeting with industry stakeholders, social media platforms, lobby groups, and academicians.

The responsibility would fall on platforms that host this kind of material, those who upload or create it, and others to identify the distinctions between “synthetic content” and an original.

India is worried about deepfakes because of recent incidents where politicians and actors discovered that their altered recordings were being shared on social media. Deepfakes have even raised the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who called the use of AI to produce such content “problematic.”

“We will develop actionable items on the four pillars – detection, prevention, reporting, and awareness (about deep fakes)” during the course of the next ten days, Vaishnaw continued.

Social media sites and the IT Ministry will reconvene “in the first week of December” to discuss the matter.
Vaishnaw noted that deepfakes are “not free speech” and that “labelling or watermarking” is necessary to enable unambiguous identification of the fakes across all media.

The upcoming sessions will include provisions pertaining to punitive action. When the draught regulations are completed, they will also be made available for public comment and recommendations.

He stated that the government was open to the concept of developing its own AI-enabled instruments for deepfake identification and prevention.

“Social media platforms admitted that deepfakes are not just an issue in India. but is a worldwide problem. They both agreed that there must be solutions to this issue, according to Vaishnaw.

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