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India’s Collaborative Approach to Counter Deepfakes

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The Minister of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Ashwini Vaishnaw, has discussed creating a robust response to the challenges posed by deepfake technology with representatives from academia, industry bodies, and social media companies. The consensus reached in the discussion entails collaborative efforts among the government, academia, social media companies, and the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) to collectively address the harmful uses of deepfake.

Deepfakes are artificial intelligence-manipulated video, audio, and images. Their hyper-realistic nature makes them challenging to identify as fake, especially for individuals unfamiliar with the technology.  Therefore, these manipulations can and have harmed reputations and serve as tools to falsify evidence. Deepfakes are also a threat to democracy and social institutions globally and the increasing presence of deepfakes in political messaging could be particularly damaging, especially in the lead-up to the upcoming general elections, posing risks to the integrity of information and public discourse.

The meeting, held at the end of November, concluded with an agreement to identify actionable items within the next 10 days, focusing on four key pillars:

  • Detection: Develop methods to identify deepfake content both before and after its posting.
  • Prevention: Establish an effective mechanism to prevent the spread of deepfake content.
  • Reporting: Implement an efficient and prompt reporting system along with a grievance redressal mechanism.
  • Awareness: Launch a widespread awareness campaign to educate the public on the issues related to deepfake technology.Top of Form
Image credits; India AI

Furthermore, effective immediately, MeitY will initiate an exercise to assess and formulate necessary regulations to combat the threat of deepfake. To facilitate this process, MeitY will invite public comments through the MyGov portal.

A follow-up meeting with relevant stakeholders will be held again this week to finalise the four-pillared structure. According to the government’s AI news portal, it remains committed to combating the growing threat of deepfake through technology and by fostering public awareness. It said that MeitY has frequently guided social media intermediaries, urging them to exercise due diligence and promptly take necessary actions against instances of deepfake.

Recently, the Delhi High Court expressed reservations about the prospect of judicial intervention to regulate the use of deepfake content created through AI. It said that addressing the issue and finding a balanced solution would be more appropriately handled by the government, given its extensive data resources and wide-ranging machinery. The court scheduled the matter for an additional hearing in January.

Governments globally are addressing the threats of damaging deepfake technologies by implementing enhanced rules and regulations. In September, the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and federal agency partners issued new guidance on cybersecurity risks associated with deepfakes.

As OpenGov Asia reported, they published a Cybersecurity Information Sheet (CSI) titled “Contextualising Deepfake Threats to Organisations” to help organisations recognise, safeguard against, and respond to deepfake threats.

It suggests that organisations should incorporate real-time verification capabilities. It underscores the use of passive detection techniques for continuous monitoring and early identification and emphasises the significance of safeguarding high-profile officers and their communications, as they are frequent targets of deepfake attempts.

Apart from detection, the guidance offered ways to mitigate the impact of deepfake attacks. Organisations must foster information sharing within and across organisations. The guidance advocates for thorough planning and rehearsal of responses to potential exploitation attempts, ensuring organisations are well-prepared for any incidents. Personnel training is another crucial aspect, providing individuals with the skills and knowledge to effectively recognise and respond to synthetic media threats.


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