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  • Khushboo Pareek

UK to outlaw sexually explicit 'deepfake' created without consent

The Ministry of Justice in the UK has unveiled plans to introduce a new law making the creation of sexually explicit "deepfake" images a criminal offence.

According to the legislation, individuals who produce such images without consent will be subject to a criminal record and potentially an unlimited fine, with the possibility of imprisonment if the image is disseminated further.

The department said that the act of creating a deepfake image will be punishable regardless of whether the creator intended to share it. The new offence will be added to the criminal justice bill currently progressing in parliament, reported the Guardian.

The announcement follows the implementation of the Online Safety Act last year, which already criminalised the sharing of deepfake intimate images. Advances in artificial intelligence have been cited as facilitating the creation of such images.

Laura Farris, the minister for victims and safeguarding, condemned the creation of deepfake sexual images as unacceptable, regardless of whether they are shared. She highlighted how such actions degrade and dehumanise individuals, especially women.

Farris said, "This new offence sends a crystal clear message that making this material is immoral, often misogynistic, and a crime," as quoted by Reuters.

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, supported the announcement, saying: "It’s welcome that the government has accepted Labour’s calls to criminalise the creation of deepfake pornography. Superimposing somebody’s image on to sexually explicit photos and videos is a gross violation of their autonomy and privacy, which can cause enormous harm, and it must not be tolerated."

Deborah Joseph, the editor-in-chief of Glamour UK, welcomed the announcement saying that in an in-house survey the magazine found that 91 per cent of its readers believed deepfake technology poses a threat to the safety of women.

Joseph said, "While this is an important first step, there is still a long way to go before women will truly feel safe from this horrendous activity."


Image Courtesy: Unsplash


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