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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 29 May 2024

United Kingdom criminalises creation of ‘deepfake’ images without consent

Deepfake refers to images and videos made to look hyper-realistic, with the victim usually unaware and unable to give their consent

PTI London Published 16.04.24, 07:29 PM
Representational Image

Representational Image File photo

Despicable people who create sexually explicit “deepfakes” will face prosecution under a new law going through its parliamentary journey, the British government said on Tuesday.

Deepfake refers to images and videos made to look hyper-realistic, with the victim usually unaware and unable to give their consent. Under the new offence, those who create such images without consent face a criminal record and an unlimited fine. If the deepfake content is then shared more widely, offenders could be sent to jail.

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“The creation of deepfake sexual images is despicable and completely unacceptable irrespective of whether the image is shared,” said Laura Farris, UK Minister for Victims and Safeguarding.

“It is another example of ways in which certain people seek to degrade and dehumanise others - especially women. And it has the capacity to cause catastrophic consequences if the material is shared more widely. This government will not tolerate it. This new offence sends a crystal-clear message that making this material is immoral, often misogynistic, and a crime,” she said.

Last year, reforms in the UK's Online Safety Act criminalised the sharing of “deepfake” intimate images for the first time. The new offence, which will be introduced through an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill, will mean anyone who makes sexually explicit deepfake images of adults maliciously and without consent can now also face prosecution. It will apply to images of adults as the country’s law already covers this behaviour where the image is of a child under the age of 18.

The Ministry of Justice said the Bill, which continues its passage through Parliament, is also creating a range of new criminal offences to punish those who take or record intimate images without consent – or install equipment to enable someone to do so. The government has also re-classified violence against women and girls as a national threat, meaning the country's police must prioritise their response to it, just as they do with threats like terrorism.

Under the Bill, a new statutory aggravating factor will be brought in for offenders who cause death through abusive, degrading or dangerous sexual behaviour – or so-called “rough sex”, often used as a defence in such legal cases.

A new statutory aggravating factor for bitter former partners who murder at the end of a relationship is also a part of reforms following recommendations made in the Domestic Homicide Sentencing Review three years ago.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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