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Certain deepfake apps may run afoul of revenge porn laws

| Sep 18, 2021 | Sex Crimes |

In Maryland, as in many other states, it is illegal for someone to share intimate videos or pictures of someone else without their consent. Even if someone sent you a racy photo or let you videotape an intimate encounter, you cannot share that media with other people unless you have the explicit permission of the other person involved. 

Doing so without permission is revenge porn, which is a prosecutable offense. These days, you don’t even need an actual sexually explicit image of someone to potentially ruin their reputation or damage their relationships. 

Sharing deepfake images or videos online could have the same consequence for the person depicted as real revenge pornography.

How do deepfake programs work? 

Those who make software to manipulate and edit videos and photographs have found ways to largely automate the process. Deepfake programs allow people to alter images and videos in surprising ways with just a few clicks. So-called deepfake apps have become so good at what they do that people can take a picture of someone else and essentially graft it into a pornographic film. Some research indicates that over 90% of the shared deepfake videos online are pornographic in nature. 

Although Maryland has not yet explicitly banned any of these applications, posting explicit content made using someone’s face in a video made with a deepfake app could potentially have the same consequences as real revenge pornography. In theory, the individual victimized by the situation may be able to push for criminal prosecution under revenge porn laws. 

Understanding what might technically be a sex crime, even if it is not yet explicitly illegal, could help you avoid making a major, life-altering mistake.