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California and China Have Made Undocumented Deepfake Videos Illegal

The difference between China’s and California’s rules regarding illegal deepfake videos is significant and one worth pondering.

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California and China Have Made Undocumented Deepfake Videos Illegal

China’s new government policy is taking on deepfake videos — the artificial intelligence-generated content designed to mislead viewers into thinking a public figure said or did something they did not — with a new rule which bans publishing deepfakes without disclosing that they were artificially created.

This rule will be enforced by the Cyberspace Administration of China and, in league with the nation’s broad stance on the topic, could help prosecute both users and content hosting sites for not following the rule, reports The Verge.

But China isn’t the only governmental body to make deepfakes illegal.

“Last month, California became the first US state to criminalize the use of deepfakes in political campaign promotion and advertising. The law, called AB 730 and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, makes it a crime to publish audio, imagery, or video that gives a false, damaging impression of a politician’s words or actions.

“California’s law does not use the word deepfake, but it’s clear the AI-manufactured fakes are the primary culprit, along with videos misleadingly edited to frame someone in a negative light. — The Verge report

But California’s law also excludes news media, parody, and satire. And I think that’s the critical difference. I think it is a dangerous idea to completely ban a technology nationwide just because many people use it for harm — then again, I’m not a huge fan of taking an immediate side regarding a new technology without extensive research to back up any concerns.

Read Next: Facebook and Microsoft Taking Deepfake Video Detection Seriously with New Program

Another advantage the US has over China in this regard: US-based tech giants Facebook and Microsoft are finally starting to take the threat of deepfakes seriously with better tools for finding and reporting them.

Facebook is spending $10 million on the “Deepfake Detection Challenge,” an initiative to commission researchers to make realistic deepfake videos which will then be used to test detection efforts.

These videos will feature paid actors with no actual user data used in production.

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