Distributing “deepfakes” with pornographic content will be made a criminal offence in England and Wales, British Justice Minister Dominic Raab announced on Friday.
"We must do more to protect women and girls from people who take or manipulate intimate photos in order to hound or humiliate them,” Raab said, announced a change to this effect in an existing law.
The intention is to give police and prosecutors the necessary powers to hold those responsible accountable and prevent abuse, he said.
According to official figures, one in 14 adults in England and Wales has been threatened with the distribution of deepfakes, images manipulated to look real, often in a sexual context.
The change in the law, part of the Online Safety Bill, also aims to criminalise the unauthorised creation of intimate images – for example, by using hidden cameras.
The amendment reportedly takes into account the fact that deepfakes are increasingly being made using special software. Last year, a website that takes nude photos of people clothed was visited 38 million times.