The government may consider introducing a new law to deal with deepfakes and misinformation, Union minister of state electronics and technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar, said on Tuesday. Separately, the IT ministry has called two meetings with executives of social media firms, on Thursday and Friday.
The meeting on Thursday, to be held in Rail Bhawan, will focus on the issue of manipulated images and videos. The meeting on Friday, called by Chandrasekhar, will focus on general compliance with IT rules.
Although the internet and artificial intelligence are empowering, they are being used to “cause harm, to cause chaos in society, to cause disorder, to incite violence”, the minister said. Deepfakes are “a very important, clear and present danger” to Indian internet users, Chandrasekhar said.
“We have already worked very hard and created the IT Rules in April 2023. We will continue to create a framework, including but not limited to, if necessary, a new legislation to ensure that deepfakes or misinformation at large do not pose a threat… to the safety and trust of 1.2 billion Indians who will be on the Indian internet,” he told ANI news agency.
The IT rules were notified in February 2021 and had a rule that mandated all intermediaries, not just social media platforms, to remove any material that showed a user in full or partial nudity, or depicted them in a sexual act, or impersonated them, including through morphed images. All intermediaries are mandated to remove such content within 24 hours of receiving a complaint from the user or someone on her behalf.
In April this year, the IT rules were modified to allow a government-notified fact checking unit to identify any “fake or false or misleading” information about the business of the central government.
The IT ministry on November 20 asked all social media companies with more than 50 million users in India to attend a meeting on November, two days after IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said his ministry would call them to brainstorm about deepfakes.
On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concern over misuse of technology and artificial intelligence to create deepfakes and said the media can play a role in raising awareness
A day after a viral fake video of Telugu actor Rashmika Mandanna sparked concerns about the misuse of artificial intelligence and its potential to further gender violence online, the IT ministry had sent two letters to all social media platforms, reminding them of their responsibility to weed out misinformation and deepfakes as mandated by Indian law, HT had reported on November 8.
In an advisory issued in February, the ministry had asked social media platforms to “put in place appropriate technology and processes for identifying information that may violate the provisions of rules and regulations or user agreement”.