Deepfakes and deception hinder India’s elections

Fake videos of trusted aides of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have disrupted campaigning in the country's mammoth elections, in which almost a billion people are voting.

Authorities are examining a deepfake of Home Minister Amit Shah, second-in-command in Modi’s BJP government, which is hoping for a third term in office.

Nine people including opposition Congress members have been detained. But experts say that only specific laws can effectively control evolving technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI).

India’s seven-phase election is rife with complaints of manufactured content bombarding parties and candidates in some of the 543 constituencies where voting has been underway since 19 April.

High-profile complaints

AI videos and voice clips featuring Yogi Adityanath, BJP Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Modi and opposition icon Rahul Gandhi have been viewed by millions despite complaints filed by high-profile victims.

Additional deepfakes of Bollywood star Aamir Khan and Ranbir Kapoor criticising Modi and a picture of actor Ranveer Singh endorsing a political party have prompted calls to thwart attempts to influence India’s 969 million voters.

Eleven civil society groups said in a letter last month to India’s Election Commission that they must introduce measures to increase accountability of political actors who deploy AI.

He said that for months that he has been calling for AI content to be water-marked.


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