It is in the news that sharing deepfake intimate images to be criminalised in England and Wales in the Online Safety Bill:

Sharing deepfake intimate images is to be criminalised in England and Wales. Amendments to the online safety bill will make it illegal to share explicit images or videos that have been digitally manipulated to look like someone else without their consent.

To try to find the definition I have searched the bill for the relevant words in that paragraph (deep, manipulated, "someone else", "explicit images") and they do not occur. "consent" occurs 9 times but not in this context.

I am interested in how the distinction is made between a deep fake created specifically to look like someone and one that looks like someone because they are in the training dataset. Generative AI porn is a thing, and this is all created from video and images available online, pornographic and not. It seems plausible that one could create and share an explicit work using an AI without the knowledge that it looked like a real person. Could that be criminalised under this law?

1 Answer 1


Section 170 of the Online Safety Bill proposes a new section 66A in the Sexual Offences Act:

66A Sending etc photograph or film of genitals

(1) A person (A) who intentionally sends or gives a photograph or film of any person’s genitals to another person (B) commits an offence if—

(a) A intends that B will see the genitals and be caused alarm, distress or humiliation, or

(b) A sends or gives such a photograph or film for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification and is reckless as to whether B will be caused alarm, distress or humiliation …

(5) References to a photograph or film also include—

(a) an image, whether made by computer graphics or in any other way, which appears to be a photograph or film

So the law doesn’t define or prohibit the sharing of “deepfakes” as such. What makes the sharing illegal is the sender’s state of mind and the recipient’s potential “alarm, distress or humiliation.” Subsection (5)(a) then makes it clear that the law applies even if the shared image is computer-generated and therefore not really “a photograph or film of any person’s genitals.”

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    This doesn't appear to actually answer the question? Of the various terms the OP listed, neither "film" nor "video" was actually among them… Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 0:01

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