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Business News/ News / Govt issues advisory to platforms on countering deepfakes
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Govt issues advisory to platforms on countering deepfakes

Platforms have to remove any deepfake content reported by users within 36 hours, failing which they will lose safe harbour immunity

Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar (PTI/file image) (MINT_PRINT)Premium
Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar (PTI/file image) (MINT_PRINT)

New Delhi: The government on Tuesday issued advisory to leading social media platforms to remove any deepfake content reported by users within 36 hours, failing which they will lose 'safe harbour immunity' and be liable to criminal and judicial proceedings under the Indian laws.

"The Centre today issued advisory to the significant social media intermediaries to ensure that due diligence is exercised and reasonable efforts are made to identify misinformation and deepfakes, and in particular, information that violates the provisions of rules and regulations and/or user agreements and such cases are expeditiously actioned against, well within the timeframes stipulated under the IT Rules 2021," the ministry of electronics and IT said in a statement Tuesday.

As per the advisory, the government has asked them to ensure that, "users are caused not to host such information/content/Deep Fakes and remove any such content when reported within 36 hours of such reporting and ensure expeditious action, well within the timeframes stipulated under the IT Rules 2021, and disable access to the content / information."

The intermediaries were reminded that any failure to act as per the relevant provisions of the IT Act and Rules would attract Rule 7 of the IT Rules, 2021 and could render the organisation liable to losing the protection available under Section 79(1) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, the ministry statement added. Section 79 protects an intermediary or a social media platform from being liable for any third-party information, data, or communication link made available or hosted by it.

Union minister of state for electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar Tuesday urged people that have been impacted by deepfakes - content generated by artificial intelligence (AI) that morphs a real image or video into a realistic yet misleading form – to file police complaints and seek remedial measures under the IT Act, which provides for jail time and financial penalties against miscreants.

“For those who find themselves impacted by deepfakes, I strongly encourage you to file First Information Reports (FIRs) at your nearest police station and avail the remedies provided under the Information Technology (IT) rules, 2021," he said.

Also Read: Deepfake video row: ‘Shame on people who...’, Mrunal Thakur encourages others to speak up

“Given the significant challenges posed by misinformation and deepfakes, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has issued a second advisory within the last six months, calling upon online platforms to take decisive actions against the spread of deepfakes," he said in a statement, on Tuesday.

On Monday, a deepfake video of actor Rashmika Mandanna went viral on X, formerly known as Twitter, which showed the actor’s face morphed on a video of a different individual. This was circulated across multiple platforms, prompting calls for legal action by various individuals on X, led by actor Amitabh Bachchan. In a post earlier on Monday, Mandanna said deepfakes need to be dealt “with urgency, before more of us are affected by such identity theft." The posts lead to the minister flagging deepfakes as a “dangerous and damaging form of misinformation," and said that they needed to be dealt with by platforms.

As per the 66 D of Information Technology Act, 2000, punishment for cheating by personation by using computer resource can lead to imprisonment of up to three years and fine up to 1 lakh.

Under the IT Intermediary Rules, Rule 3(1)(b)(vii) specifies that social media intermediary shall observe due diligence including ensuring the rules and regulations, privacy policy or user agreement of the intermediary inform users not to host any content that impersonates another person.

The Rule 3(2)(b) says that intermediary shall, within 24 hours from the receipt of a complaint in relation to any content, in the nature of impersonation in an electronic form, including artificially morphed images of such individual, take all measures to remove or disable access to such content.

“It is a legal obligation for online platforms to prevent the spread of misinformation by any user under the Information Technology (IT) rules, 2021. They are further mandated to remove such content within 36 hours upon receiving a report from either a user or government authority," the minister said.

He added that failure to comply with this requirement invokes Rule 7, “which empowers aggrieved individuals to take platforms to court under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). It is imperative that platforms take proactive measures to combat this threat," he said.

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Published: 07 Nov 2023, 05:39 PM IST
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