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Journalist Moves PIL In Delhi HC Seeking To Block Public Access Software, Platforms Enabling Deepfakes

05:00 PM May 08, 2024 IST | NEWS Desk
journalist moves pil in delhi hc seeking to block public access software  platforms enabling deepfakes
Journalist Moves PIL In Delhi HC Seeking To Block Public Access Software, Platforms Enabling Deepfakes

New Delhi [India]: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the response of the central government on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by a veteran journalist seeking directions to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) to identify and block access to platforms and mobile applications enabling the creation of deep fakes.

Veteran journalist and chairman and editor-in-chief of Hindi news channel India TV has filed the plea and stated deepfake content has the potential of being extremely harmful to the safety, reputation and well-being of the public and thus requires dedicated and specialized regulation.

A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora issued notice to the government and fixed the matter for July 19.

Plea also sought direction to appoint a dedicated nodal officer for receiving complaints regarding deepfakes and acting upon a complaint within 12 hours and within 6 hours in the case of a complaint received regarding content featuring a public figure.

Issue a directive to all social media intermediaries to take immediate action to take down deepfakes upon the receipt of a complaint from the person concerned, stated the plea.

Plea further stated that the absence of any sufficient regulatory control has led to a vacuum, which in turn is violating the personal liberty and privacy of the citizens of this country, leading to serious incidents as aforesaid. The Legislature has not taken any keen interest in regulating this menace of deepfakes. The Digital India Act, which was to aim at the growing usage of AI and its repercussions, never actually saw the light of day.

During Assembly elections in India, deepfakes targeting public figures like then Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and YS Sharmila added a layer of complexity to electoral politics, challenging authorities and the public to discern truth amidst a sea of convincing falsehoods.

The use of deepfakes in the Israel-Hamas conflict added a new dimension to the information warfare between the two sides. A deepfake video featuring Jordanian Queen Rania Al Abdullah, in which she appeared to side with Israel, highlighted how deepfakes could be weaponized in regional conflicts, the plea added.

AI systems rely on large amounts of training data and when an individual's personal data is used, there are bound to be considerable privacy concerns. Lack of adequate privacy safeguards may permit technology to wholly record and analyse an individual's personal life without their consent or knowledge, significantly harming an individual's interest by disregarding their preferences on the use of data.

Such harm may be economic, stealing an individual's credit card information, or emotional where an individual's personal details is the subject of public discussion, plea read.

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