Online Safety Law Amendments to Criminalize ‘deepfakes’ and ‘downblousing’

New amendments to the online safety bill will see people who share ‘deepfake’ and ‘downblousing’ pornographic images online face criminal charges for the first time.

Deepfakes are explicit images or videos that have been manipulated to look like someone without their consent, while downblousing photos are those taken of a woman’s top without consent.

The government will also introduce a package of additional laws to address a range of abusive behaviours, including the installation of equipment, such as hidden cameras, to take or record images of someone without their consent.

In July 2022, the Law Commission recommended that the government change the law to make sharing deepfake pornography without consent a criminal offence.

The oft-delayed online safety bill has been introduced by the government as a groundbreaking law that will protect people’s privacy and safety online.

The bill will also impose a legal obligation on platforms to protect first-time users from harmful content, with penalties for breaking the new rules, including fines that could run into the billions of pounds for the biggest companies.

To avoid this, social media companies will need to double down on content monitoring and enforce stricter age verification processes.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said: “We need to do more to protect women and girls, from people who take or manipulate intimate photos to stalk or humiliate them.

“Our changes will give police and prosecutors the powers they need to bring these cowards to justice and safeguard women and girls from such vile abuse.”

The amendment to the bill will expand the pre-existing scope of current intimate image offenses so that more perpetrators will face trial and potentially jail time.

Domestic Abuse Commissioner Nicole Jacobs said: “I welcome these government moves which aim to make victims and survivors safer online, on the street and in their own homes.

“I am delighted to see this commitment to the online safety bill and hope to see it continue its progression through Parliament at the earliest opportunity.”

It is estimated that 1 in 14 adults in England and Wales have been threatened with sharing intimate images, with over 28,000 reports of disclosure of private sexual images without consent recorded by police between April 2015 and December 2021.

The reform package follows growing global concerns about the misuse of new technologies, including the increased prevalence of deepfakes. These typically involve using editing software to create and share fake images or videos of a person without their consent, which are often pornographic in nature.

A website that virtually strips women naked received 38 million visits in the first eight months of 2021.

The Government will carry forward many of the Law Commission’s recommendations to ensure that legislation keeps pace with technology and can effectively address emerging forms of abuse.

Sign up for E&T News email to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.

#Online #Safety #Law #Amendments #Criminalize #deepfakes #downblousing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *