Govt may introduce law against deepfakes, misinformation

On Tuesday, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Union Minister of State for Electronics and Technology, announced that the government is considering the introduction of a new law to address the challenges posed by deepfakes and misinformation. Concurrently, the Ministry of Information Technology has arranged two meetings with social media executives. The first meeting, scheduled for Thursday at Rail Bhawan, will focus on manipulated images and videos, while the second meeting on Friday, convened by Chandrasekhar, will center on general compliance with IT rules.

Chandrasekhar underscored the potential harm arising from the misuse of the internet and artificial intelligence, emphasizing their capacity to disrupt society, foment disorder, and incite violence. The minister particularly highlighted the significant threat posed by deepfakes to Indian internet users.

“We have already worked diligently to create the IT Rules in April 2023. We will continue to establish a framework, including, if necessary, new legislation to ensure that deepfakes or misinformation, at large, do not jeopardize the safety and trust of the 1.2 billion Indians on the Indian internet,” Chandrasekhar stated in an interview with ANI news agency.

The existing IT rules, enforced in February 2021, mandated all intermediaries to promptly remove content involving users in explicit situations or impersonation within 24 hours of receiving a complaint. In April of the same year, modifications were made to permit a government-notified fact-checking unit to identify and address misleading information related to the central government\’s business.

On November 20, the IT ministry convened a meeting for social media companies with over 50 million users in India, responding to concerns voiced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the misuse of technology, particularly artificial intelligence, to create deepfakes. This initiative followed the circulation of a fake video featuring Telugu actor Rashmika Mandanna, prompting the ministry to remind social media platforms of their responsibility to combat misinformation and deepfakes as mandated by Indian law. In a February advisory, the ministry had urged social media platforms to implement technology and processes for identifying information violating regulations or user agreements.

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