[Answered] Examine the current legal framework in India regarding cybercrimes, with a focus on deepfakes. Suggest measures to strengthen legal provisions and enforcement mechanisms to combat the misuse of AI in creating deepfakes.

Introduction: Describe deepfakes.

Body: Highlight the legal framework to address the issue of deepfakes and measures to deal with it.

Conclusion: Way forward

Deepfakes are digital media – video, audio, and images edited and manipulated using Artificial Intelligence. It is hyper-realistic digital falsification. Access to commodity cloud computing, public research AI algorithms, abundant data, and the availability of vast media have created a perfect storm to democratize the creation and manipulation of media. This synthetic media content is referred to as deepfakes.

Current legal framework to address the issue of deep fakes

  • Information Technology Act, 2000: Information Technology Act, of 2000, is the primary legislation governing cybercrimes in India. It includes sections on unauthorized access, data theft, and offenses related to computer systems
  • Cyber Appellate Tribunal: The Cyber Appellate Tribunal handles appeals against orders issued by the Adjudicating Officer under the IT Act.
  • National Cyber Security Policy, 2013: The policy focuses on creating a secure cyberspace environment, promoting research and development, and enhancing the legal framework.
  • Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008: The 2008 amendment introduced offenses like identity theft, cyberterrorism, and the publication/transmission of sexually explicit material without consent.

Measures to strengthen the mechanism to curb the issue of deep fake

  • Responsibility of social media intermediaries– Social media intermediaries have to develop technology to detect and report deepfakes on their sites like watermarking AI-generated content. For Ex- Microsoft’s video authenticator is a new anti-deep fake technology to fight misinformation.
  • Blockchain-based Deepfake Verification– The use of blockchain technology for media creation will allow individuals to trace the origin and modification history of media. This will discourage the creation and dissemination of malicious deepfakes.
  • Digital India Act– The forthcoming Digital India Act must have penal provisions in case of malicious deepfakes. India must take lessons from China’s comprehensive regulations on deepfakes.
  • Public awareness and responsibility– Social awareness about the menace of malicious fake videos must be promoted. The public must be made aware of the ‘Pause, think, and share‘ principle for social media.
  • Implementing the principles of the Bletchley Declaration– The declaration calls to address risks and responsibilities associated with frontier AI like deepfakes. India, which is among the signatories must take the lead in finalizing the global AI regulatory framework, following the declaration principles.

Conclusion

Strengthening the legal framework to combat deepfakes requires a comprehensive approach that includes specific legislation, capacity building, awareness programs, and enhanced collaboration between various stakeholders. The evolving nature of technology necessitates a proactive and adaptive legal response to effectively address the challenges posed by deepfake threats in cyberspace.

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