SPOTLIGHT: ‘At the click of a button’: the scourge of AI deepfake porn

Specific laws for AI deepfake porn will soon be introduced in other countries.

Australia’s federal government announced in May that it will introduce legislation to ban the non-consensual creation and distribution of deepfake pornography.

The UK Ministry of Justice also announced a new law in April that criminalizes the creation of sexually explicit deepfakes without consent.

The new law also means that if the creator has no intention of sharing it but wants to “cause alarm, humiliation or distress to the victim”, they will also be prosecuted.

When asked if there is a need to develop legislation for AI-related crimes in Singapore, Chooi said the technology is still evolving.

“It wouldn’t be good to pass laws every month or every few years because the space moves very quickly. You end up with a very fragmented situation and people are confused too,” he said.

Mr Wong said having specific laws could be good, but there may be too many things to cover.

“The problem is really the use or misuse of AI, and I think it’s very difficult to try to legislate every detail,” he said.

There is also the potential problem of insufficient legislation, where the law is too broad.

“And then you realize that actually (the) law is a little flawed,” he said.

“At the moment, with the existing (laws), whether the Penal Code or the Miscellaneous Crimes Act, they are broad enough to capture all of this, so maybe we will give it a little more time to see how we will actually criminalize the crimes related to AI. .”

If there is any misuse of AI that is not covered by Singapore’s current legislation, that would be the tipping point to push for more legislation, Wong added.

Another scenario would be that the maximum penalties provided for in current provisions do not seem proportional to the crime, according to Chooi. In such a case, legislators may need to consider introducing new laws.

“I think that generally requires that a certain number of such cases come to light first,” he said.

“When we punish people and prosecute and sentence them, one of the goals is general deterrence, which is to send a message to the public,” Chooi added.

“If it’s not that frequent, then there’s no solid reason to do it.”

In response to CNA queries, the Attorney General’s Office said it has not prosecuted cases involving AI-generated pornography in Singapore.

“These crimes are relatively new and made possible by the recent evolution of artificial intelligence technology,” a spokesperson said.

While it is true that there are people who create obscene images, lawyers said they have not personally encountered cases in which someone has been accused of doing so.

When asked why this is the case, Wong said it needs to be reported to the authorities first. He gave the example of someone superimposing a face on a naked body.

“Let’s say I don’t even know it, or if someone who sees it knows it’s probably fake, then they might not take the first step of reporting it,” he said.