Deepfake technology threatens women human rights defenders in the Middle East

The Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) published a statement to denounce potential exploitation of deepfake content in targeting human rights defenders in the Middle East. Deepfake technology can be used to produce fake content that looks real, and is hence an infringement on basic human rights. According to the GCHR, gender-based deepfake technology is particularly dangerous in the Middle East where women activists are vocal and active and can risk their security because of malicious uses by such technology. ‘Innovatively, Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) took the virtual space as an alternative to mobilise, solidify and sound their voices on a louder scale. However, the risks which come with online activism are increasing, and we are very concerned as such technology will only lead to further gender-based targeting against WHRDs, particularly through defamation and smearing campaigns, and systematic stigmatisation attacks’, stressed GCHR’s WHRDs Programme Coordinator, Weaam Youssef.