UK wants to criminalize deepfake with nudity and harassment photos

The country already had legislation dealing with the subject, but the text has loopholes; entities claim danger to freedom of expression

29 november
2022
– 3:17 pm

(updated at 3:21 pm)




Harassment through deepfakes (image above) has become common practice

Harassment through deepfakes (image above) has become common practice

Photo: Edward Webb/Wikimedia Commons

the government of UK should vote later this year on a bill that criminalizes pornography deepfake non-consensual and the practice of downblousing🇧🇷 The proposal was stalled during the management of Boris Johnson and should be re-discussed by parliament in December, as reported by the leader of the House of Commons, Penny Mordaunt.

Deepfake is nothing more than computer manipulation of images to artificially insert someone’s face into a video or image. “Downblousing” consists of explicit images taken without someone’s consent through hidden cameras.

A previous law in the country already prohibits the “upskirt”, the practice of photographing people without their consent underneath skirts, dresses or similar garments, but the text has loopholes that must be closed by the new law.

The expectation is that the project will be approved, but civil society groups are still divided. Susie Hargreaves, chief executive of the Internet Watch Foundation, is one of those who believe that the new law will make people safer, in a context of global growth of digital crimes🇧🇷

“We know that strong and unequivocal action will be needed if the UK is to achieve its goal of being the safest place in the world to go online,” he told The Guardian newspaper. On the other hand, associations are concerned about possible censorship and curtailment of freedom of expression that may be brought about by the future law.

“This will create a culture of everyday censorship that will disproportionately remove content from vulnerable, disadvantaged and minority communities, claiming to protect them. It needs to be completely rethought”, argues a group of 70 organizations that signed an open letter in favor of overthrowing the project.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak maintains a neutral stance in the discussion, claiming publicly what measures should be taken, but without detailing which specific changes he supports.

See deepfake examples

Deepfake technology has been used more and more frequently, as software that makes this type of montage has become popular.

To increase the degree of realism in the videos, artificial intelligence tools also work with voice manipulations. In Brazil, comedian Bruno Sartori gained thousands of followers for his edits involving the image of President Jair Bolsonaro (PL).

American actor Tom Cruise also has hyperrealistic montages circulating on the internet.

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