Huawei and Alibaba among Chinese tech companies seeking deepfake approval
Huawei and Alibaba seek approval for models that can be used for various purposes, including manipulating visual and audio data.
Several Chinese tech companies, including Huawei and Alibaba, are seeking approval from China’s cyberspace regulator to use deepfake technology. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) received 110 applications from Chinese technology companies to comply with the rules set out in December 2022 that govern the use of deepfake technology. The regulation mandates that manipulated material have the subject’s consent and bear digital signatures or watermarks, and that deepfake content providers offer ways to ‘refute rumors’.
This process is separate from the CAC’s approval of Chinese tech firms offering generative AI products, which have been in high demand following the stellar success of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The high number of applications also highlights the significant interest and investment in deepfake technology. Huawei and Alibaba seek approval for models that can be used for various purposes, including manipulating visual and audio data.
Why does it matter?
Deepfake technology raises exceptional challenges due to its ability to produce compelling, yet fake, content. Regulating it is a first step to prevent the spread of misinformation and protect individuals’ privacy and reputation. Chinese tech giants are complying with the new rules to ensure responsible and secure usage of deepfakes within the country. China is one of the first countries to implement comprehensive regulations to restrict the production of deepfakes. Beijing’s move also underscores another reason that few countries have adopted similar rules: many people worry that the government could use them to curtail free speech.