Deepfakes are synthetic media wherein a person in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else's likeness using artificial intelligence techniques. This involves machine learning algorithms, specifically, generative adversarial networks (“GANs”) which can generate convincingly real content. They raise serious concerns due to their potential to spread misinformation or create non-consensual content.
Recently, the Union Minister for Communications, Electronics & IT Ashwini Vaishnaw issued notices to major social media platforms, demanding immediate action to identify and remove deceptive content. Highlighting a significant policy shift, Vaishnaw pointed out that the 'Safe Harbour' Clause, which had previously shielded social media platforms, may no longer apply if they fail to take adequate measures against deepfakes.
There is currently no specific law in India that directly addresses the use of deepfakes. However, actions including non-consensual use of images, defamation, or impersonation can be punishable Information Technology Act 2000, and the Indian Penal Code, 1860. In extreme cases, deepfakes can facilitate identity theft or fraud.