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Taiwan President vows action against deepfakes amid celebrity porn case

Over 100 individuals, many of them celebrities, have become victims in latest fake porn crime

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Taiwanese influencer “Hsiao Yu” (小玉), center, arrested over making fake porn. 

Taiwanese influencer “Hsiao Yu” (小玉), center, arrested over making fake porn.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) pledged on Monday (Oct. 18) to crack down on deepfakes after many celebrities have fallen victim to a crime involving pornographic videos.

Tsai said in a Facebook post that people have been profiting from manipulating the images of prominent figures and said that "we cannot sit idly by while these illegal activities happen unchecked." The government will push for tighter rules on the use of relevant technologies as it endeavors to stamp out disinformation and AI-generated fake videos, she added.

The move comes after a 26-year-old influencer going by the name of “Hsiao Yu” (小玉) was arrested Sunday (Oct. 17) over making deceitful videos where celebrities’ faces were swapped onto actors or actresses in porn films. The deepfakes were produced by exploiting machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies.

Hsiao Yu touted the doctored footage via messaging platform Telegram and is believed to have made NT$10 million (US$357,429) from the crime. At least one hundred people, including politicians, entertainers, and YouTubers, have become victims of deepfake porn, CNA reported.

Chu was released Monday after posting NT$300,000 bail. He and his accomplice, surnamed Chuang (莊), now face a criminal charge punishable by up to two years of imprisonment and/or a fine of NT$90,000.

The Women In Digital Initiative, a Taiwan-based group for women’s rights, has urged heavier punishment to be imposed on such crime, saying current penalties have failed to curb such unlawful activities. Meanwhile, it is calling for more adequate resources to fight digital crime that is running rampant in the country.

Taiwan President vows action against deepfakes amid celebrity porn case
Faked porn videos peddled on social media in Taiwan. (Women In Digital Initiative image)