The British government has announced that creating sexually explicit deepfake images without consent will be made a criminal offence. Separate legislation will be introduced to make this a criminal offense in Wales and England.

A deepfake can be either an image or a video created using AI by integrating one person’s face with that of another, resulting in a misleading image, most of which are of a sexual nature. With the advancement of AI, it will soon be possible to create an AI-generated video of a person by simply providing an image and a few text prompts to the system.

A recent Microsoft research project has revealed a similar model that Microsoft is working on. It’s not hard to see what these systems can do and how they can make life easier for deepfake creators.

Creating explicit deepfakes will become a punishable offense

The Justice Department confirmed that the law will apply regardless of whether the creator intended to share the image or not. However, sharing will carry stiffer penalties, including possible jail time.

Women are often the main targets of deepfake creators, who use their faces for pornographic content. Even public figures, especially celebrities, have become victims of this breach as deepfakes become more common due to technological advancements.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper condemned the creation of such material as a serious breach of privacy that should not be tolerated by the government. She emphasized the following:

Technology is increasingly being manipulated to manufacture misogynistic content and is emboldening perpetrators of Violence Against Women and Girls,” she added, “It’s essential that the police and prosecutors are equipped with the training and tools required to rigorously enforce these laws in order to stop perpetrators from acting with impunity.”

Limitations of the law and obstacles to enforcement

According to experts familiar with the subject, perpetrators are difficult to find due to the nature of the technology, and perpetrators can get away with their crimes despite the law because it is a global problem and not limited to a region.

Last year, a law was passed making sharing deepfakes illegal, but the new law will ban the creation of any sexually explicit deepfake without consent from the start of the process, according to the ministry. This is because deepfakes can be used to upset, humiliate or alarm the victim.

While some experts are skeptical that the law only criminalizes someone who can prove that another person created the fake image, the fact is that no one can be charged without evidence. The new law will apply to images of people over the age of 18, as minors are already covered by the law.

This law sends a clear message that both the distribution and creation of such material are immoral and misogynistic, despite questions about the effectiveness of its enforcement.


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