Deepfake videos have been all the rage in recent years. From Barack Obama entering the world of “Black Panther” to Keanu Reeves taking a walk down to Sesame Street, these videos depict famous people in outlandish situations. However, not all uses for deepfakes are so innocent. Deepfake technology can oftentimes be used for nefarious reasons by misleading the public in general.
Now, the Chinese government is making a move that others may want to emulate. A new law will make deepfake videos illegal in China unless they are accompanied by a disclosure stating that the video is digitally altered.
Halting Fake News
The new legislation comes from the Cyberspace Administration of China and will go into effect on January 1. At that time, anyone who edits a video using either artificial intelligence (AI) or virtual reality (VR) will need to include a disclaimer that the media has been altered. Of course, this means that fun-minded deepfakes are still technically legal. There will just be a disclaimer next to Obama in Wakanda.
So why the change? China’s government is citing national security issues as the primary reason for enacting the new regulations. However, it’s likely that fake news has played a large role as well.
The agency said, “With the adoption of new technologies, such as deepfake, in online video and audio industries, there have been risks in using such content to disrupt social order and violate people’s interests creating political risks and bringing a negative impact to national security and social stability.”
Ahead of the Curve
It isn’t surprising that China’s government is leading the charge against deepfakes with strict regulations. The new law will go into action ahead of federal legislation from the U.S. and other major countries. However, it does appear similar to a law enacted by the state of California back in October.
Though the state doesn’t call out deepfakes by name like China, it did make it illegal to publish fake media that could hinder the upcoming election season. That includes deepfakes that mislead voters about certain candidates.
The Chinese legislation is further reaching. Yet, citizens of the Sino nation will still be able to make deepfakes if they really want to.