Italian PM seeks justice for deepfake porn video amid surge in cases

Key Points:

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  • Giorgia Meloni seeking damages for deepfake videos
  • Proliferation of deepfake porn videos and difficulty in tracking perpetrators
  • Call for comprehensive strategy including regulation and technology to tackle deepfakes

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Summary:

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is pursuing €100,000 in damages from a 40-year-old and his father for circulating deepfake pornographic videos of her, which gained millions of views pre-appointment in 2022. Meloni has pledged to donate the compensation to a fund aiding women subjected to gender-based violence. Despite the identification of these culprits, tracking down creators and sharers of deepfake content remains a daunting challenge, according to authorities.

 

A recent investigation revealed a significant surge in deepfake pornographic videos, with 143,733 new uploads in the first three quarters of 2023, up from just one in 2016. Among the victims are 4,000 prominent figures, with around 250 from the UK, including Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman who described the invasion as sinister and violating. The ease of access to AI tools has facilitated the creation of deepfake content, leading to disturbing instances like the emergence of non-consensual deepfake images of Taylor Swift which garnered millions of views before being taken down.

 

Another discovery of deepfake porn videos featuring Dutch public figures highlights the widespread nature of this issue, predominantly targeting women. While celebrities often attract attention, women from all walks of life express major concerns about falling victim to deepfake pornography, showcasing the pervasive impact of this phenomenon. Regulating deepfake content poses a challenge for authorities globally, with legislation struggling to keep pace with technological advancements.

 

Although steps like the UK’s forthcoming Online Safety Bill aim to curb the sharing of deepfake porn, the absence of specific laws in the EU safeguarding victims of non-consensual deepfake content underscores the urgent need for comprehensive, collaborative strategies. Calls for AI companies and social media platforms to mitigate deepfake proliferation are growing, emphasizing the importance of leveraging advanced technologies like authentication systems, digital watermarking, and blockchain to enhance online security.

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