China’s New Deepfake Rules Restrict Synthetic Media

The Chinese governments new regulations designed to protect consumers and national security from deepfakes are set to take effect this month. The rules which are issued by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) require platforms to make it clear when a deepfake is produced by AI and to have their subjects consent before their likeness is synthesized. These rules could set a template for other countries, but there are still questions of whether they can be used to censor speech and how they will keep up with the rapidly evolving technology.

The regulations, namedRegulations on the Management of Deep Synthesis Services, require platforms to incorporate some kind of sign that they are produced by AI, like an indelible version of the color bar at the bottom of images created by DALLE or otherwisemarked prominently to avoid public confusion or misidentification. Additionally, platforms must have a way of confirming online identities and set up a system to respond to reports of suspicious deepfake content.

The CAC has stated that these regulations are needed toprevent and resolve security risks, and it is also a need to promote the healthy development of indepth synthetic services and improve the level of supervision capabilities.

However, there is still the risk of misuse of these regulations to censor speech or shut down valid content. For example, the satirical show Deep Fake Neighbour Wars might be shut down for mocking celebrities, despite its educational value. In order to combat the rapid development of deepfake technology, tools to detect deepfakes are being developed. However, these tools are still not perfect and malicious actors can still find ways to get around the regulations.

As such, it is important to monitor the regulations closely to ensure that they are being used for their intended purpose and not for censorship.

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