Close

HEADLINES

Headlines published in the last 30 days are listed on SLW.

Temporary deepfake ban discussed as way to tackle AI falsehoods during Singapore election

Temporary deepfake ban discussed as way to tackle AI falsehoods during Singapore election

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 10 Jul 2024
Author: Osmond Chia

During elections, countries worldwide have had to grapple with AI-generated misinformation, such as in India, where it was used to distort political speeches and impersonate celebrities to endorse political parties.

Singapore is considering ways to regulate digitally generated deepfake content – even discussing a temporary ban – as artificial intelligence (AI) could blur the line between fact and fiction ahead of the country’s election.

Countries around the world are finding ways to tackle deepfakes, said Minister for Digital Development and Information (formerly Communications and Information) Josephine Teo on July 9 at the Reuters Next Apac conference, organised by the news agency, at ParkRoyal Collection Pickering in Chinatown.

Speaking at an onstage interview with Reuters East Asia and Pacific news editor Soyoung Kim, Mrs Teo cited South Korea’s approach of implementing a 90-day ban on political AI-generated content before its election in April. Violations of the revised laws, which took effect on Jan 29, could have led to jail time of up to seven years or a fine of up to 50 million won (S$49,000).

But Mrs Teo noted that the election period in Singapore is very short.

“We don’t know that the election is taking place (90) days down the road. Obviously, the (South Korean) law can’t quite apply in our context, so we will have to find something suitable,” she said during the 25-minute talk.

No date has been set for the election in Singapore, which is due to be held no later than November 2025.

During elections, countries worldwide have had to grapple with AI-generated misinformation, such as in India, where it was used to distort political speeches and impersonate celebrities to endorse political parties.

The South Korean authorities caught a total of 129 deepfakes that were deemed to violate the ban between Jan 29 and Feb 16.

Politicians in Singapore have also been the target of deepfakes. Most recently, AI-generated videos of Senior Minister Lee Hsien Loong commenting on international matters and foreign leaders were circulated.

Mrs Teo, who is also Minister-in-charge of Smart Nation and Cybersecurity, said that any updated regulations would need to address potential loopholes where AI-created falsehoods could slip through the cracks.

“There are some areas where the law may not be specific enough to deal with AI-generated content,” she said, referring to deepfakes deployed during elections. “I’ve said it before... It is something we will have to look at.” 

Singapore has a range of laws to tackle online misinformation, said Mrs Teo, who mentioned the country’s fake news law, the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act, or Pofma, which allows the authorities to order those who spread falsehoods to issue a correction or stop sharing them.

“It doesn’t matter how the fake news was generated. Even if it was generated with the help of AI, the law can be applied,” said Mrs Teo.

Doubling down on AI

When asked about the nation’s ambitions to turn itself into a global AI player, Mrs Teo said talent, frameworks to deal with access to data and computing infrastructure are key to Singapore’s pursuit.

She mentioned data centres in particular as a crucial way in which Singapore is backing AI development as more services rely on the technology.

“As AI adoption spreads, we will need more compute capacity,” she said, adding that the manufacturing sector will likely require more AI workloads as they move to higher-value activities.

Today, Singapore has one of the densest data centre capacities in Asia, providing it with a good base to build from, she said.

The authorities in May announced plans to expand the country’s data centre capacity by more than one-third of the existing 1.4 gigawatts of computing capacity.

“If you take a comparison between Singapore and China,” she said, “China has a population 200 times bigger than Singapore and a GDP (gross domestic product) 40 times larger.”

But China’s data centre density is only about seven times larger than Singapore’s in spite of the difference in size, said Mrs Teo, citing data from real estate company Cushman and Wakefield that ranked Singapore as the fifth-densest data centre operator in the Asia-Pacific market after China, Japan, Australia and India.

Source: Straits Times © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

Print
697

Latest Headlines

Singapore Law Watch / 18 Jul 2024

ADV: Secure your place at the STEP Asia Conference

The premier event in Asia’s wealth management industry returns on 12-13 November at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. This annual conference is a must-attend event in the diaries of practitioners around the world, secure your place to learn,...

No content

A problem occurred while loading content.

Previous Next

Terms Of Use Privacy Statement Copyright 2024 by Singapore Academy of Law
Back To Top