China will regulate the use of deepfakes

Of on 10 January 2023, a new law that regulates “synthesis technologies” enters into force in China. This term refers to “deepfake” or hyperfaking, a technique for manipulating audio and video content using artificial intelligence. This technology can be used for propaganda and disinformation purposes. China wants to protect itself from use that goes against its interests. Cyberspace Administration of China, authority responsible for internet control, is the origin of this regulation.

The law includes, among other things, several great suggestions:

  • Users must provide consent if their image is to be used in deep synthesis technology.
  • Deep digest services cannot use technology to spread fake news.
  • Content that violates applicable laws is prohibited, as is content that threatens national interests and security, harms the national image, or disrupts the economy.

Little by little, Chinese power is making its nest

One regulation after another, the Chinese government is tightening its grip on the technology sector. Tech giants such as Tencent and Alibaba have seen their business suffering from Beijing’s repression in the digital domain. Since 2020 several laws, including a regulation antitrust, or on the use of personal data, aims to regulate the activities of Chinese tech players. At the same time, China also wants to pre-empt the expansion of new technologies by regulating the use of private facial recognition and deepfakes.

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A balance between regulation and innovation

The Chinese authorities want to take advantage of technological tools by putting them at the service of the party’s vision. Political power thus hopes to build a stable and prosperous society, in accordance with the Chinese social contract: a constant improvement of living standards against the absence of questioning the legitimacy of institutions. Above all, the regime wants prevent any dispute, especially virtual, of full control over the internet.

However, Beijing wants to maintain its place in the global technological race and does not abandon the use of hyper special effects. Companies will therefore have to comply with the provisions of the text, and will be subject a security audit.

The difficult regulation of deepfakes

Two researchers evaluate the law of the future incomplete. Among other things, the procedure obtain consent of the person whose image is exploited is not explained and the labeling of deepfakes made mandatory can easily be changed by a new coding.

The coming months will be rich in lessons for the Xi Jinping regime as well as for other powers, such as the US and the EU, where the regulation of deepfake is still incomplete.

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