China is betting that a requirement for companies that provide deepfake services to verify the identities of their users could shut down the potentially disruptive technology, according to a draft regulation released by the country’s cybersecurity watchdog Friday (Jan. 28).
The “Internet Information Service Deep Synthesis Management Regulations” proposed by the Cyberspace Administration of China promised to regulate technologies that generate or manipulate images, audio, video or text with face swap and image enhancement, the draft stated. The comment period will end at the close of February, and a final version could include changes.
Under the regulation, deepfake service providers must verify the identities of their customers prior to giving them to products. In addition, companies are also expected to “respect social morality and ethics, adhere to the correct political direction, public opinion orientation, and value orientation, and promote deep synthesis services to be upward and good,” according to the draft.
It’s the latest effort by Beijing regulators to fix the vulnerabilities of these emerging consumer technologies. One year ago, China regulators summoned Alibaba Group Holding, ByteDance, and Tencent Holdings for a meeting to demand they conduct security reviews on the use of deepfake technologies on their platforms and submit the results of their reviews, the South China Morning Post reported.
Hollywood-style image manipulation that used to require a huge investment and a team of talented people with above-average expertise can now be attained by anyone with a smartphone. Such developments, which have gained attention following a flurry of high-profile deepfake videos being posted on social media, are emerging as a favorite new way for bad actors to commit fraud and identify theft.
“We have been preparing for 10 years or more, but this now comes with greater and unexpected speed,” she said.