Sharing Deepfakes To Be Made Illegal In Britain

A proposed new law will make sharing pornographic deepfakes without proper consent a crime in England and Wales. This means that police and prosecutors will have more power to bring abusers to court. Figures show around one in 14 adults in England have experienced a threat to share intimate images. This law is aimed to reduce manipulated images which are significantly increasing. 

This can be images where a person's face is put on someone else's body. This new law is part of a crackdown on the abuse of intimate pictures in the UK Online Safety Bill.

Pornographic deepfakes made using machine learning techniques began to appear on the web towards the end of 2017. They quickly spread across internet forums like Reddit, with users making custom pornographic clips featuring the likenesses of celebrities and women they knew.

Now, the Ministry of Justice will also bring forward laws to tackle the installation of equipment such as hidden cameras, to take or record images of someone without consent. This will include “downblousing”, which is where photos are taken down a woman’s top.

The new law would also make it easier to charge people with sharing intimate photos without consent and prosecutors would no longer need to prove they intended to cause distress.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s has pledged to criminalise the practice, in line with previous measures this government has taken to outlaw ‘upskirting’. Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab, said "We must do more to protect women and girls, from people who take or manipulate intimate photos in order to hound or humiliate them... Our changes will give police and prosecutors the powers they need to bring these cowards to justice and safeguard women and girls from such vile abuse."

In some cases under the existing law, men have admitted sharing women's intimate images without consent, but have not been prosecuted because they said they did not intend to cause any harm.

The government says around one in 14 adults in England and Wales say they have been threatened with their intimate images being shared against their will. It also says there are growing global concerns about technology being used to create fake pornographic images and video, with one website which creates nude images from clothed ones receiving 38 million visits last year. These images will be made illegal when the online safety bill returns to parliament in December, the government has announced.

Gov.UK:     BBC:      Standard:      Indepndent:     The Verge:     Deeside:     Guardian:  

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