Home » United Kingdom criminalises creation of ‘deepfake’ images without consent

United Kingdom criminalises creation of ‘deepfake’ images without consent

Image Source : X/LAURA FARRISMP Laura Farris, UK Minister for Victims and Safeguarding

World news: Those who indulge in the creation of sexually explicit “deepfakes” will have to face prosecution under a new law which is undergoing its parliamentary journey, the British government said on Tuesday (April 16). Deepfake refers to images and videos made to look hyper-realistic, with the victim usually unaware and unable to give their consent.

The recent years have witnessed the growing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to add the faces of celebrities or public figures into pornographic films.

Under the new law, those who create such pictures without the consent will face a criminal record and an unlimited fine in the UK. The offenders could even be sent to jail if the deepfake content is shared widely.

What did the UK Minister say?

“The creation of deepfake sexual images is despicable and completely unacceptable irrespective of whether the image is shared,” said Laura Farris, UK Minister for Victims and Safeguarding.

“It is another example of ways in which certain people seek to degrade and dehumanise others – especially women. And it has the capacity to cause catastrophic consequences if the material is shared more widely. This government will not tolerate it. This new offence sends a crystal-clear message that making this material is immoral, often misogynistic, and a crime,” she added.

“This government is cracking down on the vile degenerates who make sexually explicit ‘deepfakes’. We’re introducing a new law to ban the creation of these distressing and abusive images,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wrote on X.

Reforms in UK’s Online Safety Act

Last year, reforms in the UK’s Online Safety Act criminalised the sharing of “deepfake” intimate images for the first time. The new offence, which will be introduced through an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill, will mean anyone who makes sexually explicit deepfake images of adults maliciously and without consent can now also face prosecution.

It will apply to images of adults as the country’s law already covers this behaviour where the image is of a child under the age of 18.

What did the Ministry of Justice say?

The Ministry of Justice said the Bill, which continues its passage through Parliament, is also creating a range of new criminal offences to punish those who take or record intimate images without consent – or install equipment to enable someone to do so.

The government has also re-classified violence against women and girls as a national threat, meaning the country’s police must prioritise their response to it, just as they do with threats like terrorism.

Under the Bill, a new statutory aggravating factor will be brought in for offenders who cause death through abusive, degrading or dangerous sexual behaviour – or so-called “rough sex”, often used as a defence in such legal cases.

A new statutory aggravating factor for bitter former partners who murder at the end of a relationship is also a part of reforms following recommendations made in the Domestic Homicide Sentencing Review three years ago.

(With PTI inputs)

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