February 13, 2024

The rise of deepfake ads

The use of generative-AI technology has put a new spin on financial scams and schemes in recent years.

In an interview with CBC, partner Molly Reynolds noted that developing the tools and laws to prevent these sorts of schemes from happening is a game of catch-up that Canada’s legal system is already losing.

Many social media platforms and websites face a “question of moral obligations versus legal obligations” despite having policies in place that are meant to prevent these scams because of the lack of legal obligations to remove fraudulent materials.

"There are individuals who are deeply impacted with no legal recourse, with no help from the technological companies and maybe without a big, you know, social network to rely on the way that Taylor Swift has," Molly said.

She cautioned any individual who wants to pursue legal action over the production and distribution of deepfakes will have to be in it for the long haul.

“Any case would take time to work through the court system—and it's likely to be expensive,” she added.

Though, she did note that, if advisable, a class action can be more cost effective, citing a recent class action lawsuit against Meta over "Sponsored Stories" advertisements on Facebook.

Read: Canadian privacy regulators weigh in on how to comply with privacy laws when using generative AI systems

When asked how difficult it would be from a legal perspective to find the source of a deepfake, Molly told City News’ The Todd Veinotte Show that it can be a game of cat and mouse. Even though content can be removed from a site, scammers will often times create new accounts or post the same content across different platforms.

“Ironically, privacy laws often protect the identity of the scammer who created the account. So, it’s quite difficult for people to get the name or the email address that was used to [post the content],” she added.

Molly advised those who’s image has been compromised to not only report any posts that uses their likeness, name or voice, but to have their family and friends report the posts as well.

“Using free tools like Google Alerts to try and identify when your image or name is being used on different sites can help so that you can try and tackle this if it is moving across different platforms,” she noted.

You can read more about our Cybersecurity work on our practice page.

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