Singapore minister addresses the rising issues of deepfakes and misinformation, says law needed to rein in

The Singaporean Minister, participating in a WEF panel, said that deepfakes, which involve creating fraudulent images in the likeness of others are nothing but an “assault on the infrastructure of fact.”

In a panel session at the World Economic Forum (WEF), the minister of Singapore emphasized the immediate need for legislation to regulate and curb the proliferation of deepfakes, a rising threat to privacy, security, and trust in digital content. The Communications and Information Minister Josephine Teo, on January 17 asserted that the regulation of AI (artificial intelligence) would come in a spectrum, with deepfakes positioned at the end. It would likely need a heavy hand of the law to rein them in.

The Singaporean Minister, participating in a WEF panel, said that deepfakes, which involve creating fraudulent images in the likeness of others are nothing but an “assault on the infrastructure of fact.” She also added by saying that it poses problems to all societies. The World Economic Forum was held in Davos, Switzerland, between January 15 and 19. As these technologies advance, so does the potential for misuse, necessitating legal frameworks to mitigate their negative impact.

The communications and information minister also added that to regulate the AI industry a risk-based approach could be taken, keeping in mind that it would not hamper the innovation, along with laws for extremely serious matters like deepfakes and lighter frameworks and guidelines that can be applied to innovation. The call for legal intervention resonates globally, as deepfakes continue to pose a threat not only to individuals but also to businesses, governments, and society at large.

The communications and information minister remarked that there is a genuine concern that deepfakes pose a challenge for all societies, irrespective of their political model, and pondered on the appropriate approach to address this issue. She went on to express her belief that a legal framework would likely be necessary, stating that she couldn’t envision a scenario where there wouldn’t be a law in place. The minister further added by saying that she could not see an outcome where there was not a law in place. Exactly in what shape or form it would take, they would have to see.

As far as AI-driven disinformation is concerned, Ms. Jourova, who sits on the European Commission, expressed her concern over this. The AI-driven disinformation has called forth the European regulators to directly label AI content. She conveyed her apprehension, expressing that it would be a nightmare if voters were covertly manipulated using AI and a blend of targeted disinformation. According to her, such a situation could signify the demise of democratic elections.

The deepfakes have a hard hit on Singapore as the deepfakes of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Lawrence Wong, deputy minister, their likenesses were used to promote investment products through scam videos. The authorities have made an announcement of $20 million to be reserved for tackling the rising concern of deepfakes and also misinformation.