Combatting Deepfake Threat: Indian Government Targets Swift Regulatory Measures

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In a meeting addressing the escalating threat of deepfake technology, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and various celebrities have propelled the Indian government into decisive action. Following the meeting, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced that the government is committed to expeditiously introducing regulations to combat deepfakes, with a draft expected within the next few weeks.

Speaking at a press conference held after discussions with social media platforms and AI tool companies, Minister Vaishnaw declared that deepfakes pose a significant danger to democracy. He underscored that accountability for such content lies with both creators and the platforms hosting it. The government is now exploring penalties for those responsible, whether creators or platform providers.

The key issues discussed during the meeting revolved around detecting deepfakes, preventing their posting and viral spread, implementing a robust reporting mechanism, and increasing public awareness. Minister Vaishnaw stressed the need for collaboration between the government, industry, and the media to educate the public about the dangers of deepfakes.

The minister affirmed that the digital realm, despite lacking physical boundaries, requires content to adhere to Indian laws if shown to people within the country. The upcoming regulation may take the form of new rules, a new law, or amendments to existing rules.

When questioned about potential penalties for deepfakes causing harm, Minister Vaishnaw indicated that the government will carefully examine this aspect in the drafting process. He emphasized that the next meeting, scheduled for the first week of December, will assess the progress made on the discussed issues.

While acknowledging the assurance from social media companies and platforms to take immediate steps to tackle deepfakes in accordance with their policies, Minister Vaishnaw underscored the importance of balancing free speech and privacy. He highlighted that the new regulations aim to ensure that AI-generated synthetic content does not harm society and democracy.

During the meeting, attendees included representatives from social media platforms, companies specializing in AI-generated content, the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), and professors in the field of artificial intelligence. Minister Vaishnaw noted that all attendees unanimously agreed on the urgency of addressing the deepfake issue.

Prime Minister Modi, addressing the virtual G20 Summit, emphasized the need for a thorough examination of the rapid growth of artificial intelligence, citing safety concerns. He urged G20 nations to collaborate in addressing the challenges posed by AI, particularly the “big concern” of deepfake technology.

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