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A close up photo of Ashley Judd smiling at a press event.She wears a strapless black dress and has her hair over one shoulder.

Ashley Judd Joins Campaign to Ban Deepfakes

Ashley Judd is calling for deepfakes to be banned.

The Hollywood star and activist has joined a campaign urging governments to stop non-consensual or misleading AI-generated voices, images or videos, that a reasonable person would mistake as being real, from being produced, distributed and used.

In a statement shared on the BanDeepfakes.org site, Ashley says, “There is a deepfake explosion. It is rapidly proliferating and saturating media everywhere. Over 95% of deepfake is pornography, 99% of that porn is of girls and women and 95% of that porn is non-consensual. The only effective solution is for governments to ban them at every stage of production and distribution, putting legal accountability on the companies that provide deepfake content, and everyone in between, including users who feel entitled to view with impunity such abusive imagery of bodies, violating our dignity and rights.”

 

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What are deepfakes exactly? They’re AI-generated pieces of content manipulating a real person’s face or voice so it will do and say what the creator wants. You may’ve seen some deepfakes of Tom Cruise dancing around on socials – yep, that was not the real Tom Cruise twerking. And more recently, Taylor Swift was targeted when pornographic imagery using her face spread across X (formerly Twitter).

Ashley is certainly correct when she says, there is a deepfake explosion. The World Economic Forum has named it the most worrying use of AI and figures show social media is rampant with deepfakes.

The Ban Deepfakes campaign aims to make deepfakes a crime, in particular images and videos involving child pornography. It also aims to establish penalties for anyone knowingly involved in creating or spreading harmful deepfake content, as well as holding software developers and distributors accountable. It’s important to note that the campaign doesn’t include satirical use or instances where the imagery is obviously fake.

Over one thousand academics, politicians, people in entertainment and even AI leaders, have signed an open letter calling for the ban, describing deepfakes as a “growing threat to society.”

The letter of course isn’t the first call for governments to take urgent action. England passed laws last year to make it easier to prosecute those sharing deep fakes whilst in Australia, we’re on the verge of introducing new laws to address the issue too.

“Through a survey conducted in 2019, we found that, across Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, 14.1% of respondents aged between 16 and 84 had experienced someone creating, distributing or threatening to distribute a digitally altered image representing them in a sexualised way. People with disabilities, Indigenous Australians and LGBTQIA+ respondents, as well as younger people between 16 and 29 were among the most victimised,” said Dr Asher Flynn, Chief Investigator at the Australian Research Council Centre for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

“The new laws will see Australia once again leading the way in legal responses to online sexual harm. The laws may also go some way towards curbing the accessibility of sexualised deepfake technologies. If it is illegal to create or produce non-consensual deepfake imagery, then it would likely reduce the capacity for the technologies, like free nudify apps, to be advertised.”

Dr Flynn added, “It is important that these proposed laws are introduced alongside other responses which incorporate regulatory and corporate responsibility, education and prevention campaigns, training for those tasked with investigating and responding to sexualised deepfake abuse and technical solutions that seek to disrupt and prevent the abuse.”

Learn more about the Ban Deepfakes campaign here.

(Feature Image Credit: Tinseltown/Shutterstock.com)

Nehal is an award-winning news presenter, author of "A Kids Book About Kindness Online" and founder of CelebrityKind. She has dedicated her career to creating connected and healthy spaces in the media. When she's not writing, you'll find Nehal hanging with family, dancing to Beyoncé, interpreting Taylor Swift lyrics or watching old eps of Oprah.