Deepfakes, where highly realistic content (images, video, audio) is created using artificial intelligence (AI), raises important concerns about misinformation, identity theft, fraud, privacy infringements and potential misuse, but it also promises exciting possibilities in various fields and business applications.

As of date, India does not have a specific law to address deepfakes and AI-related crimes. In a few instances, famous people have relied on personality rights (i.e., the right to publicity and the right to privacy) to restrain the misuse of their persona. Certain provisions under the Information Technology Act, 2000 and its rules could prove useful.

Over the past weeks, many efforts have been made on regulating deepfakes, along with advisories issued in respect of intermediary liability. In addition, court interventions have been sought on behalf of the public. Moreover, the forthcoming parliamentary elections will likely affect the proposed rollout of the Digital India Act — which, in turn, may include dedicated rules on AI and deepfakes.

Despite important concerns related to their misuse, deepfakes offer unique opportunities for innovation, marketing, education and operational efficiency. From personalised marketing to virtual training simulations, the diverse applications of deepfakes showcase their potential to contribute towards growth. As businesses navigate this transformative landscape, the responsible and ethical use of deepfake technology is paramount to ensure a positive impact on the business ecosystem.

Such safe and responsible use requires a combination of ethical frameworks, robust security measures and ongoing awareness efforts. By adopting transparent policies and ensuring adequate security and collaboration with experts, businesses can harness the potential of deepfakes for innovative applications without compromising ethical standards. While such considerations are significant and need to be acknowledged, businesses must offer innovative ways to leverage the positive attributes deepfake technology.

(The writer is a lawyer with S&R Associates, a law firm)