Thousands of deepfake porn images featuring the faces of innocent Irish victims are being circulated online, according to an internet privacy expert.
Deepfake images and videos use artificial intelligence and machine learning to seamlessly superimpose someone’s features into a video or photograph.
Using the technology, it is now possible to create videos that appear to show people saying or doing things they never did.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, tech expert Dan Purcell said there are people online who can create deepfake images of anyone using pictures from social media.
“The videos would be more celebrity-focused but the images that are floating around are just girl next door,” he said.
“The way these systems work, they’re still in their infancy, but they’re incredibly sophisticated and even in the last three years, these things have just improved tenfold.
“If you take a photograph from Instagram, just a very innocent picture of, it could be a girl at the beach or in her swimwear posing with friends, that photograph can then be fed into a system and in about 60 seconds or less, that girl has been stripped of her clothing to the point where the skin tone is matching, the position of the hands … it’s so hard to tell them apart.”
"The girls don't have a clue"
He said the images are shared on social media – often without the women in question knowing anything about it.
“I think it is almost fetishized a little by the fact that the girls don’t know what is happening,” he said.
“So, there is kind of, a lot of underground trading and it is going on right in front of our eyes on places like Reddit, Discord, Telegram, all these apps that are just living on people’s phones day to day.
“That’s where it is all taking place and for the most part, the girls don’t have a clue.”
He said there is not a lot anyone can do to prevent it from happening.
“Set your social media profiles to private where you can but for the most part, the victims are part of the Irish Instagram community or the Irish TikTok community,” he said.
“A lot of these women who are being targeted are very in that culture of kind of wanting followers and wanting that limelight sort of thing and that is where they get turned into victims.
“It is up to internet service providers, domain hosts and server hosts and the actual people hosting the websites to step up – I mean Google for example, this should be a banned term effectively.”
Mr Purcell said anyone who discovers they have been the victim of deepfaking should contact Gardaí and report it on hotline.ie.
You can also contact ceartas.io to have the images removed for free.
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