U.K. to Make Creation of Explicit Deepfake Images a Criminal Offense

The UK will make it a criminal offense to create sexually explicit deepfake images as part of efforts to address violence against women.

People convicted of creating such deepfakes without consent, even if they don’t intend to share the images, will face prosecution and an unlimited fine under a new law, according to a statement from the Ministry of Justice. Sharing the images could also result in jail time.

Rapid advances in artificial intelligence have led to the rise of making and spreading deepfake images and videos. The UK has designated violence against women and girls as a national threat, which means the police must prioritize addressing it, and this law is aimed to help them crack down on a practice that is increasingly being used to humiliate or distress victims.

“This new offense makes it clear that making this material is immoral, often misogynistic, and against the law,” Laura Farris, minister for victims and safeguarding, said in a statement.

The government is also introducing new criminal offenses for people who take or record real intimate images without consent, or install equipment to enable someone to do so. A new statutory aggravating factor will be brought in for offenders who cause death through abusive, degrading or dangerous sexual behavior.