The advent of deepfakes, which digitally manipulate and replace an individual’s likeness convincingly with another, has sparked widespread concern and alarm. Recently, the proliferation of deepfake images and videos involving well-known actresses Rashmika Mandanna and Katrina Kaif has underscored the urgency for a comprehensive understanding of the legal recourse available to safeguard internet users in India.
Key Legal Provisions Addressing Deepfake Media in India
Privacy Laws: The Information Technology Act, along with its regulations, affords protection to individual privacy and data rights. Victims can file complaints under Section 66 D, enabling penalties including imprisonment for up to three years and a fine of Rs 1 lakh for unauthorized use of their likeness in a deepfake video.
Responsibility of Social Media Platforms: As per the Information Technology Intermediary Rules, social media intermediaries are tasked with ensuring that no content impersonates another person. The onus lies on platforms to protect individuals’ privacy, as outlined in Rule 3(2)(b), mandating a prompt response within 24 hours upon receiving complaints about impersonation content.
Defamation Laws: The Indian Penal Code contains defamation provisions, and individuals can file a defamation suit against creators of deepfake videos if they are intended to cause harm by disseminating false information. Elements to establish defamation in deepfake scenarios include falsity, publication, harm to reputation, and fault by the video’s creator.
Cybercrime and Data Protection: The Information Technology Act comprehensively addresses cybercrimes, encompassing unauthorized access, data theft, and cyberbullying. Victims have the means to file complaints against deepfake videos produced through illicit methods like hacking or data theft.
Right to be Forgotten: While India does not have a specific “right to be forgotten” law, individuals can approach courts to request the removal of personal information, including deepfake videos. Courts may consider such requests based on privacy and data protection principles.
Consumer Protection Laws: The Consumer Protection Act of 2019 offers relief to individuals affected by deepfake content utilized for fraudulent purposes, safeguarding consumer rights against fraud or misrepresentation.
Understanding and leveraging these legal provisions is pivotal to counter the misuse of deepfake technology, safeguarding the privacy and reputations of individuals in the face of deceptive synthetic media.