Published on January 18th, 2024
In a recent development, the Mumbai Cyber Police has filed a First Information Report (FIR) against a gaming website and a Facebook page for the creation and dissemination of a deepfake video involving cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar.
This malicious use of deepfake technology poses serious threats to individuals’ reputations and has become a tool for defamation and blackmail.
The Deepfake Incident
What Happened With Sachin Tendulkar
On January 16th, Sachin Tendulkar alerted the Mumbai Cyber Police about a deepfake video falsely portraying him and his daughter winning substantial amounts from an internet game.
The video, which manipulated an old interview, was uploaded on a Facebook page named Hurma and the gaming website Skyward Aviator Quest.
These videos are fake. It is disturbing to see rampant misuse of technology. Request everyone to report videos, ads & apps like these in large numbers.
Social Media platforms need to be alert and responsive to complaints. Swift action from their end is crucial to stopping the… pic.twitter.com/4MwXthxSOM
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) January 15, 2024
2. Legal Action
The West Region Cyber Police registered an FIR under sections 506 and 66A of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act, respectively.
The complaint was filed by Tendulkar’s personal assistant, Ramesh Pardhe, who discovered the altered video on social media platforms.
The altered video, created using deepfake technology, featured Tendulkar endorsing a gaming app and claiming his daughter’s daily earnings of Rs 1.8 lakh.
The police are actively seeking details about the owner of the gaming portal, recognizing the challenge posed by offshore servers.
Sachin Tendulkar’s Response
On January 15th, Sachin Tendulkar took to social media to address the misuse of technology.
He emphasized the disturbing prevalence of fake videos and urged people to report such instances.
Tendulkar called for swift action from social media platforms to curb the spread of misinformation and deepfake content.
India’s Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, responded to Tendulkar’s concerns, stating that the government is working on stricter regulations outlined in the Information Technology Act to address such cyber threats.
Rising Threat Of Deepfake Content
This incident is not isolated, as various celebrities, including Katrina Kaif, Alia Bhatt, and Priyanka Chopra, have fallen victim to deepfake threats.
The malicious production and distribution of deepfake content, often containing explicit material, have grown, posing a significant challenge for law enforcement and victims alike.
What Is A Deepfake AI?
Deepfake AI, short for “deep learning” and “fake,” refers to synthetic media that undergoes digital manipulation to seamlessly replace one person’s likeness with another.
Utilizing powerful techniques from machine learning and artificial intelligence, deepfakes manipulate or generate visual and audio content with a high level of deception.
The primary machine learning methods employed include deep learning, utilizing generative neural network architectures such as autoencoders, and generative adversarial networks (GANs).
The implications of deepfake technology are profound, with potential applications ranging from creating misleading content to more sinister activities like generating child sexual abuse material, revenge porn, and financial fraud.
The spreading of disinformation and hate speech through deepfakes poses a threat to democratic systems, compromising people’s ability to make informed decisions and express political will.
In response, both industry and government have taken steps to detect and limit the use of deepfakes.
As deepfake technology advances, it has become increasingly convincing and accessible to the public.
This evolution has disrupted traditional entertainment and media industries, with applications extending from gaming to various forms of content creation.
The impact of deepfakes on society has prompted significant attention and countermeasures.
The history of deepfake technology traces back to the 1990s when researchers at academic institutions began developing these methods.
Over time, amateurs in online communities adopted and further refined deepfake techniques.
In recent years, the technology has transitioned from academic and amateur realms to being embraced by industry, further emphasizing the need for vigilance and regulation in its use.
Applications Of Deepfakes AI?
Deepfake technology is reshaping the landscape of the entertainment industry, particularly in acting.
Notably, Disney has harnessed high-resolution deepfake face-swapping to enhance visual effects, reduce operational costs, and even de-age characters or revive deceased actors.
This technology has become a powerful tool for filmmakers, enabling the creation of realistic digital clones of professional actors.
In the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike, the use of AI-generated digital likenesses emerged as a major concern, showcasing the potential of deepfakes to replace actors in the industry.
The art world has embraced deepfake technology for creative expression.
Artists like Joseph Ayerle have utilized deepfakes to explore generational reflections and provoke thought on art’s role in society.
Ayerle’s video artwork, “Un’emozione per sempre 2.0,” seamlessly integrates deepfake technology to create an AI actress with the face of Ornella Muti and the body of Kendall Jenner, showcasing the potential of deepfakes in multidisciplinary art.
Deepfakes are revolutionizing entertainment beyond traditional mediums.
From hyperrealistic deepfake performances in talent shows, such as the collaboration between a former AGT contestant and Metaphysic AI, to virtual concerts by iconic bands like ABBA and KISS using deepfake avatars, the technology is disrupting the entertainment landscape.
Platforms like 15.ai contribute to content creation for various fandoms, emphasizing the expanding influence of deepfake AI in shaping online entertainment experiences.
Fraud And Scams
The darker side of deepfake applications is witnessed in fraud and scams.
Fraudsters exploit deepfakes to deceive individuals into fake investment schemes, financial fraud, and deceptive endorsements.
Celebrities’ identities, from Taylor Swift to Elon Musk, are misused for large-scale scams, and the rise of deepfake scams, including those involving real-time deepfakes, poses a growing threat to online security.
The political arena has not been immune to the influence of deepfake technology.
Deepfakes have been employed to misrepresent well-known politicians, create satirical content, and even sway public opinion during elections.
Instances like the creation of a deepfake video of Vice President Kamala Harris going viral on social media highlight the potential impact of deepfakes on political discourse and public perception.
Deepfake technology’s darker applications include the creation of non-consensual deepfake pornography featuring celebrities.
The prevalence of such content on the internet raises ethical concerns and emphasizes the need for stricter regulations.
The release and subsequent removal of the DeepNude application, which used neural networks to remove clothing from images of women, underscore the challenges in addressing deepfake-related issues in the adult content industry.
Deepfakes have infiltrated popular social media platforms, with apps like Zao enabling users to insert their faces into scenes from films and television shows.
The use of deepfakes in social engineering scams and the potential recruitment of individuals with access to classified information through deepfake-generated social media accounts underscore the security risks associated with this technology.
Deepfake photographs are now being used to create non-existent personas, known as sockpuppets, for online and traditional media engagement.
These fabricated identities can influence public opinion and contribute to disinformation campaigns.
The emergence of such deepfake-generated personas in newspapers and social networks raises concerns about the authenticity of online information and the potential for misinformation battles.
Deepfake applications in AI continue to evolve, presenting both creative possibilities and significant challenges across various sectors.
As technology advances, the ethical and legal considerations surrounding deepfakes become more critical in ensuring responsible use and mitigating potential harm.
Exploring Deepfake Events Across Personalities
In a pivotal moment on April 17, 2018, Jordan Peele, BuzzFeed, and Monkeypaw Productions collaborated to post a deepfake of Barack Obama on YouTube.
This deepfake showcased the potential harm of the technology by depicting Obama cursing and insulting Donald Trump, demonstrating how deepfakes can manipulate voices and faces to make individuals say anything.
On May 5, 2019, Derpfakes posted a deepfake of Donald Trump on YouTube, originating from a Jimmy Fallon skit.
The deepfake humorously transformed Fallon’s face into Trump’s while retaining the original audio. This event highlights the lighter, comedic side of deepfakes in entertainment.
Fake Arrest Of Donald Trump:
In March 2023, images circulated depicting NYPD officers restraining Trump.
Created using Midjourney, these images, initially shared by Eliot Higgins, were later misinterpreted as genuine photographs, emphasizing the potential for misinformation through deepfake-generated visuals.
In 2019, a manipulated clip from Nancy Pelosi’s speech circulated on social media, where the video was slowed down and audio altered to create the false impression of her being intoxicated.
Though not a deepfake, this incident reflects the broader challenges associated with video manipulation, even in less sophisticated forms.
Kim Jong-Un And Vladimir Putin:
RepresentUs uploaded deepfakes of Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin in September 2020 as potential commercials to convey the impact of foreign interference in US elections.
The intended shock factor aimed to emphasize the vulnerability of democracy to media influence, though these deepfake commercials were never aired.
Vladimir Putin’s Invasion Announcement:
On June 5, 2023, an unidentified source broadcasted a reported deepfake of Vladimir Putin announcing the invasion of Russia.
This event underscores the potential misuse of deepfakes for political manipulation and the dissemination of false information.
During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, a deepfake video circulated, seemingly showing President Zelenskyy instructing soldiers to surrender.
Social media platforms debunked and removed the video, illustrating the challenges in combating the spread of misinformation through deepfakes.
Wolf News Propaganda:
In late 2022, pro-China propagandists used deepfake videos from “Wolf News” to spread synthetic actors’ messages.
Developed by Synthesia, this deepfake application serves as an alternative to live actors, indicating the diverse applications of the technology beyond entertainment.
Pope Francis In A Puffer Jacket:
In March 2023, an anonymous construction worker used Midjourney to create a fake image of Pope Francis wearing a Balenciaga puffer jacket.
Despite its unsophistication, this deepfake went viral, marking a significant case of AI-driven misinformation on a mass level.
Rashmika Mandanna’s Deepfake Incident:
A Deepfake Video Of Rashmika Mandanna Has Been Circulating Online, Raising Concerns About The Misuse Of This Technology.
Deepfake videos are becoming increasingly realistic and sophisticated, making it difficult to distinguish them from real videos.
This has led to concerns… pic.twitter.com/4RUfrmZgdO
— ANKIT (@TheUrbanHunk) November 6, 2023
In November 2023, South Indian actor Rashmika Mandanna became a victim of a deepfake when a morphed video featuring a British-Indian influencer’s face started circulating on social media.
This incident emphasizes the real-world consequences and ethical concerns surrounding deepfake technology.
Worldwide Laws Against Deepfakes
In the United States, efforts have been made to address the challenges posed by deepfakes.
The Malicious Deep Fake Prohibition Act was introduced to the US Senate in 2018, and the DEEPFAKES Accountability Act followed suit in the House of Representatives in 2019.
States such as Virginia, Texas, California, and New York have also enacted legislation to combat deepfake-related issues.
California, for instance, signed Assembly Bills No. 602 and No. 730 into law, offering legal recourse for victims of explicit deepfake content and prohibiting the distribution of malicious deepfake media targeting election candidates within a specified timeframe.
China took a proactive approach by mandating that deepfakes and synthetically altered footage must carry a clear notice of their falseness starting in 2020.
Failure to comply with this directive could result in criminal charges, as declared by the Cyberspace Administration of China.
In the United Kingdom, producers of deepfake material can face prosecution for harassment, but there are ongoing discussions about establishing deepfake as a specific criminal offense.
Similarly, the United States is contemplating a more comprehensive statute, given the diverse charges, including identity theft, cyberstalking, and revenge porn, that have been pursued in connection with deepfake incidents.
Canada, recognizing the potential threat of deepfakes in politics, has acknowledged the risk of interference in Canadian politics, leading to discussions about legal measures to address the issue.
In India, while there are currently no direct laws on AI or deepfakes, provisions under the Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act 2000/2008 offer potential legal remedies.
Moreover, the proposed Digital India Act is expected to include a dedicated chapter on AI and deepfakes, according to MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar.
The case filed against the gaming portal and Facebook page highlights the growing threat of deepfake content and its potential for misuse.
The legal actions taken by the Mumbai Cyber Police, coupled with the awareness raised by Sachin Tendulkar, underscore the need for robust measures to address this evolving challenge in the digital age.