Prime Minister Modi Raises Concerns Over Deep Fakes: Urges Media Awareness
Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the growing concern of deep fakes technology and its potential for misuse during a recent address at Bharatiya Janata Party’s Diwali Milan program which was held on 17th November 2023. deep fakes, synthetic media creations, manipulate existing images or videos by replacing a person’s likeness with someone else’s, raising serious concerns about misinformation and digital deception.
Deep Fake Impact: A Recent Case and Public Outcry
Days prior to Modi’s statement, a deep fake video featuring actress Rashmika Mandanna circulated on social media, prompting widespread calls for regulatory measures. The video, suspected to be created using artificial intelligence, replaced the face of a British-Indian influencer with Mandanna’s likeness. The incident underscored the urgency of addressing deep fake-related challenges.
The video had led to widespread calls for regulation of the technology. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union minister for electronics and technology, had said on the social media platform X that deep fakes are the latest and a “more dangerous and damaging form of misinformation” that needs to be dealt with by social media platforms.
PM Modi’s Address: A Call for Media Vigilance and National Development
Addressing journalists, Prime Minister Modi emphasized the importance of media education, in informing the public about the dangers of deep fakes. Therefore, such media education will enhance the public awareness about the deep fakes. He used the occasion to reiterate his commitment to building a ‘Viksit Bharat’ (developed India), portraying it as a tangible reality and not just rhetoric.
National Achievements and Chhath Puja Celebration
Modi commended the ‘vocal for local’ initiative, noting the significant support it garnered among the people. He also highlighted India’s achievements during the Covid-19 pandemic, fostering confidence among citizens that the nation continues to progress. Additionally, he expressed joy over Chhath Puja evolving into a ‘rashtriya parva’ (national festival), signifying cultural significance and unity.
Government’s Response: IT Ministry’s Directives and Legal Implications
Earlier this month, the Union Ministry of Electronics and IT issued directives to social media platforms, urging them to combat misinformation and deep fakes in accordance with Indian law. These letters, dated November 6 and 7, reminded platforms of their obligations under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code), 2021. The government warned of potential loss of safe harbor protection for non-compliance and stressed the removal of deep fakes within 36 hours of reporting.
Legal Implications and User Grievances
The letters referenced Section 66D of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which addresses the use of communication devices for cheating by “personation.” Legal experts note the challenges in applying this section to deep fake cases. The government asserted that platforms must remove deep fakes within 36 hours, emphasizing their legal obligation under the IT rules of 2021. However, the law mandates such removal only upon court or government orders.
PM Modi’s Personal Encounter with deep fakes
In a surprising revelation, Prime Minister Modi shared a personal experience with deep fake technology. He disclosed having watched a morphed video of himself engaging in Garba, a traditional dance form. This revelation further emphasized the potential harm and deceptive nature of deep fake content.
Way Forward: Combating deep fake Threats Requires Collective Effort
Prime Minister Modi’s acknowledgment of the deep fake threat underscores the need for collective efforts in addressing the challenges posed by synthetic media. Media awareness, regulatory measures, and technological solutions are crucial elements in safeguarding against the misuse of artificial intelligence. As technology continues to evolve, staying vigilant and proactive becomes imperative to uphold the integrity of digital content and protect individuals from malicious manipulations.
Click here to watch PM modi’s statement about deep fakes