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China amends law to ban deepfakes as ValidSoft exec proposes biometric detection


China has moved to ban “deepfakes,” as the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress amended the country’s Civil Code Personality Rights (Draft), Chinese publication Synced reports.

The new rule blocks any organization or individual from infringing people’s portrait rights with digital forgeries. A report on the Civil Code revision notes not only the potential impact of deepfakes on the individuals depicted, but also on national security, public interests and society as a whole.

Deepfake capabilities have become a source of worry for governments and sparked a race between the agencies and businesses providing deepfake detection and prevention and their adversaries. Pindrop CEO Vijay Balasubramaniyan told Biometric Update in February that current technology can detect most deepfakes, though the people watching or hearing it cannot. He also agreed with concerns expressed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation that attempts to make deepfakes illegal could restrict other forms of speech, including parody.

In an TechRadar editorial, ValidSoft COO John Petersen notes the potential for deepfakes to be used in financial crimes, and the increasing reliance on digital channels for news over print media.

Advanced voice biometric techniques can be used to identify deepfakes, however genuine they may sound to humans, Petersen says.

“Advanced voice biometric algorithms include techniques to detect both recordings, known as replay or presentation attacks, as well as synthetically generated audio,” Peteresen writes. “Regardless of how “human” a voice may sound to the human ear, it is not what it sounds like that is important to synthesis detection engines. Their interpretation of whether audio is spoken by a human is very different from ours.”

What action legislators outside of China will take on the issue remains highly uncertain, but it certainly has the biometrics industry’s attention.

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