Supreme Court Judge Raises Alarm on Deepfakes and Social Media Harassment

New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India expressed deep concern about the growing trend of sexual harassment via social media and the potential dangers posed by deepfake technology. Justice Hima Kohli, a prominent figure in the Indian judiciary, highlighted the transformative impact of social media on communication and its role in reshaping harassment dynamics, particularly in cases of gender-based abuse of power.

Deepfakes: A Threat to Privacy, Security, and Truth

Justice Kohli specifically emphasized the groundbreaking and concerning nature of deepfake technology, an AI-driven tool capable of creating realistic but false content. This technology poses significant threats to individual privacy, security, and the spread of misinformation. The indistinguishable nature of deepfakes from reality presents a profound challenge to information authenticity and personal identity sanctity.

Remote Work: Blurring Boundaries and Enabling Harassment

Justice Kohli further noted the paradigm shift accelerated by the global move to remote work, which has blurred the lines between professional and personal spaces. This shift has facilitated the rise of virtual harassment, enabled by features of digital platforms like anonymity and rapid information spread. The often invisible nature of online harassment can be equally damaging, if not more, than offline harassment, fostering an environment where perpetrators act with impunity and victims face heightened isolation.

Holistic Approach Needed to Combat Online Harassment

Addressing the multifaceted challenges of online harassment, Justice Kohli advocated for a holistic approach involving collaboration between policymakers, social media entities, employers, and users. This approach should focus on creating safe online environments, promoting digital literacy, fostering respectful interactions, and providing robust support for victims. Justice Kohli also emphasized the need for proactive legal evolution, stressing the importance of enhancing frameworks like the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act to effectively address digital and online harassment.

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