Sunak Pressed to Outlaw Creation of Deepfake Adult Content

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faces pressure to plug a legal gap that lets creators of deepfake adult content avoid prosecution.

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Labour voices concerns that the government lags behind rapid online advances, particularly the troubling rise of deepfakes – where explicit content is altered to feature unwitting individuals.

Since January 31, circulating such deepfakes without consent is a criminal act in the UK, by virtue of the Online Safety Act.

However, Labour has put forward a modification to the ongoing Criminal Justice Bill to criminalize the production of deepfakes.

The Independent received comments from Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, stating, “The creation of deepfake intimate imagery is a gross breach of personal autonomy and privacy, and it’s something we simply shouldn’t stand for.”

“Misuse of tech to craft misogynistic content is on the rise, giving more power to those who perpetrate violence against women and girls.”

The government’s task is to reinforce the legislation, sending “a strong, clear message that such activities are damaging and unacceptable,” Cooper elaborated.

Cooper insists on zero tolerance for non-consensual deepfakes

A recent Channel 4 exposé highlighted an alarming surge in deepfake pornography.

A single video was detected in 2016, yet a staggering 143,733 new clips surfaced on top deepfake porn platforms in the first nine months of the past year – outnumbering the total of prior years combined.

The top five deepfake sites feature over 250 British public figures, including actresses, YouTubers, TV stars, and musicians, as unwitting subjects of deepfake pornographic material.

One victim, who stumbled upon deepfake porn of herself online, recounted to The Independent the “violating” experience, condemning the perpetrator’s attempt to “intimidate” and “frighten” her.

She expressed, “It’s as if my identity, my persona was hijacked for sexual ends without my permission. Some may shrug it off, but we’re blurring lines between perception and actuality, and perception is our new reality. To think my likeness was appropriated to silence or intimidate me, or for someone else’s pleasure, is disgusting.”

The potential for deepfakes to deceive the public sets off widespread alarm. Deeptrace, a cybersecurity firm, reports that 96% of all deepfake videos are pornographic and non-consensual, with women being the targets in nearly all incidents.

The Home Office has yet to respond to requests for their stance.

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