The Washington Post Interview: Scarlett Johansson on Fake Sex Videos

Scarlett Johansson on fake AI-generated sex videos: ‘Nothing can stop someone from cutting and pasting my image’

Scarlet Johannson at the world premiere of “Avengers: Infinity War” in Los Angeles in April. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

Scarlett Johansson is speaking out about the danger of computer-generated “deepfakes,” in which women’s faces are inserted into explict pornographic vidoes.

Her face has been grafted into dozens of graphic sex scenes by anonymous online “creators,” who are using free artificial-intelligence software to create convincingly lifelike videos. One fake video, described as real “leaked” footage, has been watched on a major porn site more than 1.5 million times.

Johansson, 34, is one of the world’s highest-paid actresses, famous for roles in “The Avengers” and the sci-fi fantasty “Her,” in which she played the faceless voice of an artificial-intelligence companion.

And she has more experience than most with the dark reality of modern fame. In 2011, she was one of the celebrities whose nude photos were stolen and posted online by a hacker, making her the symbol for a shocking new era of privacy breaches. The hacker was later sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Creating fake pornographic photos online has been around for decades. But the rise of deepfake videos, which have been used to harass and humilate women in and out of the spotlight, has marked a new and discouraging challenge for women seeking to protect themselves on the Internet, she told The Washington Post in an interview.

But she is also grimly candid about eth difficulty of fighting back against the most damaging uses of an emerging technology, partly because it requires challenging the validity of the videos in multiple places around the world.

Her full comments are below:

“Clearly this doesn’t affect me as much because people assume it’s not actually me in a porno, however demeaning it is. I think it’s a useless pursuit, legally, mostly because the internet is a vast wormhole of darkness that eats itself. There are far more disturbing things on the dark web than this, sadly. I think it’s up to an individual to fight for their own right to their image, claim damages, etc.

I mean, this is coming from someone who has a guy from Hong Kong get famous from making an AI with my exact face on it that wasn’t ‘technically’ me. (A reference to this life-size robot unveiled in 2016.) It’s a fruitless pursuit for me but a different situation than someone who loses a job over their image being used like that.

Also, every country has their own legalese regarding the right to your own image, so while you may be able to take down sites in the U.S. that are using your face, the same rules might not apply in Germany. Even if you copyright pictures with your image that belong to you, the same copyright laws don’t apply overseas. I have sadly been down this road many, many times.

The part is that trying to protect yourself from the internet and its depravity is basically a lost cause, for the most part.

Vulnerable people like women, children and seniors must take extra care to protect their identities and personal content. That will never change no matter how strict Google makes their policies. (Google in September added “involuntary synthetic pornographic imagery” to its ban list, allowing anyone to request the search engine block results that falsely depict them as “nude or in a sexually explicit situation.”)

The Internet is just another place where sex sells and vulnerable people are preyed upon. And any low level hacker can steal a password and steal an identity. It’s just a matter of time before any one person is targeted.

People think that they are protected by their internet passwords and that only public figures or people of interest are hacked. But the truth is, there is no difference between someone hacking my account or someone hacking the person standing behind me in line at the grocery store’s account. It just depends on whether or not someone has the desire to target you.

Obviously, if a person has more resources, they may employ forces to build a bigger wall around their digital identity. But nothing can stop someone from cutting and pasting my image or anyone else’s onto a different body and making it look as eerily realistic as desired. There are basically no rules on the internet because it is an abyss that remains virtually lawless, withstanding US policies which, again, only apply here.

Original article at The Washington Post

Author: Cider

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