Today's technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, and with it come new legal and ethical concerns. One of the most pressing of these is the use of the "deepfakes“, images or videos manipulated by artificial intelligence. These fake videos have become a dangerous breeding ground for misinformation and the distribution of inappropriate content, with the majority of victims being women whose identities are impersonated by stealing their photos from social networks and placing their faces in compromising situations.
One of the most pressing reasons is how these can infringe on the right to honour and self-image of individuals. In this article, we will explore this issue in depth, examining the legal and ethical implications.
Deepfakes have gained notoriety in recent years because of their ability to creating compelling and fictional audiovisual contentwhich can be used for a variety of purposes. While the technology behind them is impressive from a technical perspective, it also raises serious concerns. concerns about privacy and security of individuals. One of the main problems lies in how these deepfakes can damage the honour and self-image of innocent individuals.
Images created with Dall-E
Deepfake technology has evolved significantly in recent years. Examples such as Dall-E, a tool developed by OpenAIhave made it possible to creating realistic images from words, using a powerful database. This has led to the proliferation of fictitious and sometimes denigrating images, many of which involve public figures.
Vulnerability of Honour
A person's honour is a fundamental right that implies recognition and respect for their moral integrity. Deepfakes can undermine this honour by spreading false and denigrating information. Imagine a scenario in which a person is falsely portrayed in a video engaging in inappropriate or illegal activities. This can have a devastating impact on its reputation and how it is perceived by society at large.
Attacks on Self-Image
In addition to damage to honour, they can also attack a person's self-image. This refers to the public representation of oneself, and its manipulation without consent can result in serious harm. For example, a deepfake could use a person's face in an inappropriate or defamatory context, which would negatively affect the perception of that person in the digital world.
The case of Rosalia
An emblematic example of the dangers of deepfakes is the case of singer Rosalía. The talented Spanish artist found herself in the middle of a scandal when a reggaeton singer from Seville known as JC Reyes decided to post some artificially edited images of Rosalía topless on Instagram, insinuating that they had had some kind of relationship. This case highlighted the serious implications that deepfakes can have on people's lives.
Existing legal framework: Sufficient protection?
In many countries, there are laws that protect the honour, privacy and self-image of individuals. In Spain, the Organic Law 1/1982 on the Civil Protection of the Right to Honour, Personal and Family Privacy and Self-Image. establishes a legal framework to address these issues. However, the question that arises is whether these laws are sufficient to deal with deepfakes in the virtual age.
Legal vacuum in Europe
One of the key challenges in the fight against deepfakes is the legal vacuum in Europe in relation to artificial intelligence. Although the Civil Protection Act 1982 may apply to these cases, the lack of specific legislation in the field of artificial intelligence makes it difficult to take effective legal measures against those responsible for deepfakes. This loophole creates a gap that needs to be addressed urgently.
The European Commission has presented a draft Regulation for Artificial Intelligence that will be discussed in the European Parliament in the coming months. This is a step in the right direction to address the problem of deepfakes from a legal and ethical perspective.
Legal Avenues for Protection
In the face of a deepfake incident, victims like Rosalia have several legal avenues to protect themselves. These avenues include:
The civil route allows victims to bring damages claims against those responsible for the deepfakes. In this case, Rosalia could seek compensation for the damage to her reputation and honour.
This is the most common option in these cases. Although 'deepfakes' are not yet classified as a crime in the Penal Code, it is possible to seek compensation through civil proceedings for interference with honour, privacy and self-image. In this context, the moral damage caused would be assessed, as it does not necessarily imply economic damage.
Criminal proceedings involve the possibility of bringing criminal charges against those responsible of deepfakes. Depending on the jurisdiction and the seriousness of the case, this could result in criminal sanctions for the perpetrators.
This is the least common route due to the lack of specific typification. However, in some cases, it could be possible to use the Article 173.1 of the Criminal Codewhich deals with offences against moral integrity. This would apply when the publication of a 'deepfake' is intended to harass and humiliate the victim.
In some countries, administrative authorities may intervene to take action against the dissemination of harmful deepfakes. These measures may include the removal of content or the imposition of sanctions on offenders.
The administrative route focuses on data protection and can be used to remove sensitive images from social networks, as this type of content is in breach of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) is the entity in charge of supervising and managing this option in our country.
The need for specific laws
Despite existing legal avenues, it is clear that more is needed to effectively address the problem. The creation of specific laws to regulate and sanction these practices becomes essential. These laws should address not only the creation and dissemination of malicious deepfakes, but also the protection of victims and the liability of the platforms on which such content is shared.
Awareness of the dangers of deepfakes and education in the responsible use of technology are key to preventing this type of abuse and protecting the rights of individuals in this ever-evolving world.