Helen Mort Deepfake: A Call for Stricter Online Safety Laws

Helen Mort Deepfake: A Call for Stricter Online Safety Laws. The recent proliferation of deepfake technology, particularly in the adult content industry, has raised complex legal and ethical concerns. British poet and writer Helen Mort recently shared her distressing experience in the documentary “My Blonde GF,” directed by Rosie Morris. This film unveils the destructive consequences of deepfake porn on Mort’s life, shedding light on an issue that is more prevalent and damaging than many realize.

Helen Mort Deepfake: A Call for Stricter Online Safety Laws
Helen Mort Deepfake: A Call for Stricter Online Safety Laws

The process of creating a deepfake image involves superimposing one person’s face onto the body of another using artificial intelligence. Mort’s encounter with this distressing technology came when photos of her face were illicitly used in explicit scenes on a porn site. She suspects the images were lifted from her old Facebook account or professional photographs available publicly.

Mort’s vivid and shocking account of discovering explicit photos that appeared to be her, the impact of which created a profound feeling of violation. The pictures, digitally edited onto scenes of sexual violence, induced traumatic, recurring nightmares and a relentless sense of paranoia.

In the documentary, Mort’s struggle with this horrific encounter is prominently featured. She confessed to an inability to “unsee” the disturbing images and expressed how the violation has even tainted her perspective of unaltered photos of herself. It underscored the psychological burden deepfake victims carry, hinting at the irreversible trauma that can be inflicted without any physical contact.

Deepfake porn’s devastating psychological impact has been confirmed by experts like Professor Clare McGlynn at Durham University, who highlighted its potential to shatter lives. According to her, victims often experience a form of ‘social rupture’ where their lives split into ‘before’ and ‘after’ the abuse, severely affecting every facet of their existence.

Deepfake porn disproportionately targets women, with a staggering 96% of deepfakes being non-consensual sexual images, 99% of which feature women, according to a 2019 report by Sensity AI. This statistic highlights a disturbing gender bias in the misuse of deepfake technology and calls for urgent legal intervention.

Unfortunately, the current law in England and Wales does not consider the creation of deepfake images illegal, adding to the victims’ despair. This shocking gap in the legal system has left victims like Mort feeling helpless and invisible, unable to seek justice.

The forthcoming Online Safety Bill, which is expected to become law this year, intends to address this issue. It aims to make sharing non-consensual deepfake porn images illegal. However, experts argue that for the bill to be genuinely effective, it must prioritize online violence against women and mandate internet platforms to take such abuses seriously.

Rosie Morris’s documentary seeks to provoke discourse around the severe impacts of deepfake porn, underscoring the importance of stricter online safety laws. Through Helen Mort’s heartbreaking experience, it offers a grim reminder of the dangers lurking in our increasingly digitized world. By bringing these stories to light, we can fuel the conversation around deepfake and its dangers, hopefully leading to significant changes in how we approach online safety in the future.