It is a criminal offense to create false sexual images of another person

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It is a criminal offense to create false sexual images of another person

Creating false sexual images of another person will become a criminal offense under a new law announced on Tuesday.

Those found guilty could face prosecution and fines, and if the image is widely shared, offenders could be sent to prison.

Even if someone creates a false sexually explicit image, called a “deepfake”, without intending to share it, they will commit an offense if they want to cause “alarm, humiliation or distress to the victim”, according to the Ministry of Justice. .

Cally Jane Beech, activist and veteran love island candidate, said: “This new offense is a huge step in strengthening the laws around deepfakes to better protect women. »

The Love Island star found images of herself online that had been “distorted” and had a fake naked body superimposed on top.

“The likeness of this image was so realistic that anyone with fresh eyes could assume it. AI-generated image was real when it wasn’t, but I still felt extremely violated,” she told Glamor magazine.

“Too many women continue to have their privacy, dignity and identity compromised in this way by malicious individuals and it must stop,” she said on Tuesday in response to the new law.

Deepfakes are typically created using “generative artificial intelligence” tools. These programs use artificial intelligence to create images based on a prompt given by the user.

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Most tools have built-in rules to stop the creation of explicit images, but in March the government’s new AI Safety Institute found that “using basic prompting techniques, users were able to immediately break protective measures”.

The scenarios tested ranged from producing discriminatory images to obtaining personal information about individuals.

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Fake sexual images of Taylor Swift were widely shared online in January. Photo: AP

Taylor Swift became a high-profile victim of deepfake pornography when the internet was flooded with fake sexual images of the singer in January, but the problem is widespread.

A Channel 4 An investigation in March found that hundreds of British celebrities had been victims of deepfake pornography, including the report’s presenter, Cathy Newman.

“I didn’t think it would affect me too much, but actually when I watched it, the only way to describe it is that it was a violation,” she told the Today show on Tuesday. Radio 4.

“It was nice of me and not of me, and yet it was incredibly invasive. It was a disgusting fantasy that someone had.”

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In 2019, 96% of deepfake video content online was non-consensual pornography, according to a report from cybersecurity firm Deeptrace.

Laura Farris
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Minister for Victims and Protection Laura Farris has called deepfake pornography “immoral” and “often misogynistic”.

“This new offense sends a very clear message that the production of this material is immoral, often misogynistic and constitutes a crime,” said Laura Farris, Minister for Victims and Protection.

The government has made it a priority to better protect women, according to the Ministry of Justice.

A new set of criminal offenses is being discussed in Parliament to punish people who take or record intimate images without a convent, or who install equipment that allows someone to do so.

Nicholas Hawkes.  Photo: Essex Police
Picture:
Nicholas Hawkes. Photo: Essex Police

Earlier this year, “cyberflashing” became a criminal offense and Nicholas Hawkes became the first person to be convicted in February after sending unsolicited photos of his erect penis to a 15-year-old girl and a woman.

Hawkes was sentenced to 66 weeks in prison and will be placed on the sex offenders register until November 2033 as he had previous convictions for sexual offences.

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