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Government Cracks Down on Deepfake Menace: Protecting India’s Internet Users

Rashmika Mandanna's Deepfake Ordeal Sparks Legal Action, Highlighting Urgent Need for Deepfake Regulation

The government has warned social media systems to comply with the regulation and stop the unfolding of deepfakes after a faux video of Rashmika Mandanna surfaced online.

Deepfakes are motion pictures that use synthetic intelligence to swap faces or manipulate voices. They can be used to create fake or harmful content material, including impersonating celebrities or politicians.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY) sent an instruction to all social media platforms on Tuesday, reminding the criminal provisions that address deepfakes. According to Section 66D of the Information Technology Act, 2000, anyone who cheats by pretending to be someone else with the use of an electronic device can face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh.

On Monday, Rajeev Chandrashekhar, the Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, tweeted that the Narendra Modi government is committed to ensuring the protection of all Internet users in India. According to him, beneath the IT regulations notified in April 2023, all social media platforms have a legal obligation to prevent and remove any misinformation published within 36 hours of being reported by any government authority. He introduced that if systems fail to comply with this, they can be sued by the affected person under the Indian Penal Code. He also said that deepfakes are the modern-day and most risky shape of incorrect information and need to be dealt with.

After this, a deepfake video of Rashmika Mandanna, a famous actor, went viral on social media on Monday. The video confirmed her getting into an elevator. However, her face changed, replaced with that of Zara Patel, a British-Indian influencer, by using the deepfake technology. Abhishek Kumar, a journalist and a researcher, shared the video on X and asked for a criminal and regulatory framework to cope with the issue of growing deepfakes in India.

Rashmika Mandanna expressed her displeasure and fear over the deepfake video of her being circulated online. She said, “I experienced mental harm and have to talk about the deepfake video of me being unfolded online. Something like that is simply extraordinarily horrifying, affecting not only me but also everyone who these days are prone to technology being misused.

Today, as a female and as an actress, I am thankful for my family, friends, and well-wishers, who are my protection and guide me. But suppose this occurred to me as a school or university student. In that case, I virtually can’t imagine how I should ever tackle this. We want to address this as a community and with urgency before affecting others from such identification theft.

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma is a seasoned Political Journalist with a deep passion for Indian Politics. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has established himself as a trusted… More »

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