‘We’re Aware & Working on Curbing Fake News’: IT Min on Deepfakes

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, on Wednesday, 4 December said that the government is aware of the development of Deepfakes, and that there are efforts in place to curb fake news.

While responding to a question on Deepfakes placed by Congress MP S Jothimani, Prasad told the Lok Sabha that the government is very well aware of the technology that "enables to allow alter/create the image or video media of a person with any other person’s image or video using artificial neural networks and deep learning/machine learning techniques." Further, the Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology moved on to the government’s efforts in curbing fake news.

Prasad said that the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is in constant touch with social media platforms to remove objectionable content under the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

He also pointed out that social media platforms have already implemented initiatives to address the issue of fake news on their platform, such as limiting forwards and promoting fact-checking.

The Information Security Education and Awareness (ISEA), an IT Ministry awareness program has been creating awareness about digital security and fake news, he said. Prasad also mentioned a dedicated website for information security awareness.

Further, he talked about a government-owned twitter handle, Cyber Dost, set up to spread awareness on cyber security. 

The MHA has also published a handbook for adolescents/students on cyber safety, according to Prasad.

On the Use of AI to Curb Fake News

Further, S Jothimani also posed questions on Artificial Intelligence, asking the IT Minister about the National Programme on AI with regard to Facebook.

Prasad pointed out the following features of the Programme on Artificial Intelligence:

  • To establish a sustainable ecosystem for Artificial Intelligence in the country
  • To facilitate AI innovation, evolution, widespread use and implementation on bringing its benefits to citizens by preparing standards and enabling reforms including requisite changes in policies and laws
  • To foster research and development in Artificial Intelligence and related technologies
  • To build the capabilities in Artificial Intelligence at national and state level
  • To bring out the global best practices and successful use cases for Indian context
  • To promote responsible AI deployment for the masses and generate public awareness

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