India Might Not Buy the User-Is-Responsible Argument

November 29, 2023

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

India’s elected officials seem to be agitated about deep fakes. No, it is not the disclosure that a company in Spain is collecting $10,000 a month or more from a fake influencer named Aitana López. (Some in India may be following the deeply faked bimbo, but I would assert that not too many elected officials will admit to their interest in the digital dream boat.)

US News & World Report recycled a Reuters (the trust outfit) story “India Warns Facebook, YouTube to Enforce Ruyles to Deter Deepfakes — Sources” and asserted:

India’s government on Friday warned social media firms including Facebook and YouTube to repeatedly remind users that local laws prohibit them from posting deepfakes and content that spreads obscenity or misinformation

11 24 reprimanded

“I know you and the rest of the science club are causing problems with our school announcement system. You have to stop it, or I will not recommend you or any science club member for the National Honor Society.” The young wizard says, “I am very, very sorry. Neither I nor my friends will play rock and roll music during the morning announcements. I promise.” Thanks, MidJourney. Not great but at least you produced an image which is more than I can say for the MSFT Copilot Bing thing.

What’s notable is that the government of India is not focusing on the user of deep fake technology. India has US companies in its headlights. The news story continues:

India’s IT ministry said in a press statement all platforms had agreed to align their content guidelines with government rules.

Amazing. The US techno-feudalists are rolling over. I am someone who wonders, “Will these US companies bend a knee to India’s government?” I have zero inside information about either India or the US techno-feudalists, but I have a recollection that US companies:

  1. Do what they want to do and then go to court. If they win, they don’t change. If they lose, they pay the fine and they do some fancy dancing.
  2. Go to a meeting and output vague assurances prefaced by “Thank you for that question.” The companies may do a quick paso double and continue with business pretty much as usual
  3. Just comply. As Canada has learned, Facebook’s response to the Canadian news edict was simple: No news for Canada. To make the situation more annoying to a real government, other techno-feudalists hopped on Facebook’s better idea.
  4. Ignore the edict. If summoned to a meeting or hit with a legal notice, companies will respond with flights of legal eagles with some simple messages; for example, no more support for your law enforcement professionals or your intelligence professionals. (This is a hypothetical example only, so don’t develop the shingles, please.)

Net net: Techno-feudalists have to decide: Roll over, ignore, or go to “war.”

Stephen E Arnold, November 29, 2023


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