Time to curb fake videos in elections

Vivek Shukla
The ongoing Lok Sabha election campaign has suddenly taken a very ugly turn after a fake video involving Union Home Minister Amit Shah has surfaced . Accusations and counter-accusations are common during campaigns and are not considered harmful. However, it is unacceptable for any one or political party to resort to using ‘deep fake’ technology to release fake videos against their opponents in order to win elections.
In the recent case, the country’s Home Minister, Amit Shah, he has become a victim of ‘deepfake’ technology. Amit Shah had delivered a speech at a BJP election rally in Siddipet, Medak district of Telangana on last April 25. The video of this speech was allegedly tampered with and shared on social media. Fact checks have proven this video to be completely fake.
In this fake video, Amit Shah is allegedly seen announcing the abolishment of reservations for Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), and Other Backward Classes (OBC). Now, imagine if someone could actually abolish the reservations provided to the above-mentioned classes in the country? It is an impossible thing.
In reality, an old video of Amit Shah has been edited, in which he was talking about ending Muslim reservations. In this original video, SC and ST have been added in place of Muslim. However, the question arises as to how it is possible that the fake video looks exactly like the real one? Fake videos are created with the help of software. As we know, the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence tools has increased in the market these days. In this technology, the tone and voice of a person are captured with the help of machine learning. In fact, with the help of new technology, the face of a person who is not even a part of that video is fitted into the video. It is difficult to tell the difference between real and fake in a video manipulated through this technique.
Whoever leader or political party created and released fake videos showing Amit Shah announcing the abolishment of reservations, how serious an act they have committed to spread hatred in society. Obviously, based on the complaint of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Delhi Police is taking action against the mischievous elements involved in this case. The Delhi Police has also summoned some other Congress leaders of the state including Telangana Chief Minister Revanth Reddy for questioning. It seems that the strings of this whole matter are spread far and wide. Ahmedabad Police has arrested two people. Earlier, Assam Police had also arrested a person in this regard.
A complaint has been lodged by Prateek Karpe, an office bearer of BJP’s Mumbai unit, at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) Cyber Police Station. The complaint states that a deepfake video of Amit Shah was created, posted, and shared on the internet, with the intention of defaming BJP leader Amit Shah. The complainant also requested the police to immediately remove the fake video and register a case against those accused who allegedly shared it to create enmity and hatred among various castes. On the basis of the complaint, a case has been registered against the social media handle of Maharashtra Youth Congress and 16 others under various sections of IPC and IT Act at Bandra-Kurla Cyber Police Station in Mumbai.
Understand one thing; if strict action is not taken against those who defame their opponents with deepfake or any other technology, then the situation will start getting out of control. Love and harmony will end among different sections of the society.
Some time ago, a fake (morphed video) of famous actress and ‘Animal’ film heroine Rashmika Mandanna went viral, in which Rashmika’s face was superimposed on a girl’s face using technology. The ‘Animal’ actress was quite upset after this video went viral. Later, Amitabh Bachchan also raised his voice in support of Rashmika Mandanna.
Amit Shah is a top leader of the BJP and the game that has been played with him can not be justified. BJP leaders have started saying that till some time ago the opposition used to make only verbal allegations against the ruling party, but now some parties and their leaders are resorting to technology to malign the leaders of BJP. They have started conspiring to defame the top leaders of BJP. The most recent example of this is the case of deepfake against Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
In the ongoing Lok Sabha election campaign, it is also being said on a very large scale that the BJP will end the Constitution of the country. Can anyone change the Constitution of India under the watchful eyes of Babasaheb Ambedkar? It is impossible. The entire country considers Babasaheb as its ideal and draws inspiration from him. Therefore, it should not be alleged that if BJP comes to power for a third term, then its intention is to change the Constitution and end reservation in jobs and educational institutions.
Of course, technological development has taken place rapidly in the world in the last few decades. The increasing use of digital platforms has made life easier and faster, but along with this benefit, some serious risks related to cyber security are also coming to the fore. With the boundless nature of cyberspace, the threats associated with it, and the deceitful methods and tools of cyber criminals, the trend of cyber attacks is constantly changing. Apart from this, terrorism and fundamentalism are also finding shelter in cyberspace. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Cybersecurity is no longer limited to the digital world. It has become a matter of national security.” Cyberspace has become the new battleground. For the time being, the government will have to take strict action against those elements that are using deep fake technology to disrupt the country and society. Meanwhile, one only hope that the authorities concerned would curb the menace of deep fake videos sooner rather than later with an iron hand.