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Rashmika Mandanna deepfake video case: Main conspirator arrested from Andhra Pradesh

On November 6 last year, a modified video of actor Rashmika Mandanna appeared online sparking discussions on digital safety.

On Saturday, 20th January, the Delhi Police arrested the main accused in the case involving actor Rashmika Mandanna’s deepfake video from Andhra Pradesh. DCP Hemant Tiwari, Intelligence Fusion & Strategic Operations (IFSO) Unit from Delhi Police has confirmed the arrest of the main accused.

Earlier in the day, ANI reported that four suspects in the case have been tracked down and the hunt was on to nab the main conspirator. However, the four suspects initially arrested turned out to be uploaders, not creators, the police said, adding that they were looking for the key conspirator in the case. Out of the four suspects, three had been tracked based on the details provided by Meta, the company that owns and operates social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Now the main conspirator has also been arrested.

On November 6 last year, a modified video of actor Rashmika Mandanna appeared online sparking discussions on digital safety. In the viral video, it can be seen that a woman resembling the actress Rashmika was entering a lift wearing a black swimsuit. The video quickly went viral and several social media users came forward to confirm that it was a deep fake. It was later identified that the video was of a British Actress Zara Patel.

The actor had strongly reacted to the deep fake video and said, “I feel really hurt to share this and have to talk about the deep fake video of me being spread online. Something like this is honestly, extremely scary not only for me but also for each one of us who today is vulnerable to so much harm because of how technology is being misused.”

The Delhi Police registered the FIR under Indian Penal Code sections 465 (punishment for forgery) and 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation) and sections 66C and 66E of the Information Technology Act at the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) Unit of the Delhi Police’s Special Cell and an investigation has been carried out into the matter. It was reported earlier that the probe in the matter has reached a dead end as the accused had removed and deleted his or her account from the social media platforms. However, the police have arrested the main accused in the case on Saturday.

Highlighting the danger of deepfakes, Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on November 18 during an interaction with the media, “Deepfake is a big issue for all of us. We recently issued notices to all the big social media forms, asking them to take steps to identify deepfakes, to remove those content. The social media platforms have responded. They are taking action. We have told them to be more aggressive in this work.”

Recently, a gaming application morphed a video of Sachin Tendulkar and began a fraudulent promotional campaign. After Sachin Tendulkar took to X and clarified that the video showing him encouraging his fans to play games on that app was bogus, the Mumbai Cyber Police filed an FIR against it.

Notably, Deep fakes, a blend of “deep learning” and “fake,” represent a concerning and rapidly evolving aspect of artificial intelligence manipulation. These sophisticated forgeries use digital software, machine learning, and face-swapping technologies to generate artificial videos that look strikingly similar to original videos of a person or an event. These videos can depict events, statements or actions that have never happened.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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