Deepfake porn crisis looms as 3 arrested for superimposing celebs onto sex clips

A rise in the number of deepfake celebrity porn cases highlights a worrying rise in sex-related cybercrime worldwide, authorities fear.

Three men have been arrested in Japan on charges of defamation for using image manipulation software to superimpose the faces of famous actresses and singers onto porn stars.

They are the accused of selling access to the footage through a website. An analyst suggested Japanese police are heeding calls for them to pay greater attention to sex-related cybercrimes.

The three men – Masayuki Futamata, 46, and Gaku Yamaguchi, 33, from Tokyo, and 23-year-old Kentaro Kubo of Yokohama – allegedly used software they downloaded from the internet to create 215 deepfake videos.

The clips were then released on a pay-per-view adult website.

Police claim Futamata earned more than 500,000 yen (£3,626) while they allege Kubo earned an estimated one million yen (£7,253).

The celebrities who appeared in the videos have not been identified by the police but the arrests were welcomed by the Ever Green Entertainment Agency.

In a statement the company said some of its celebrities "who are the victims of these illegally created videos have been under attack and have become the target of abuse as some people have commented on social media sites that these videos are not fake".

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Authorities told the Asahi newspaper that Yamaguchi and Kubo have admitted to defamation of the women, although Futamata has denied the charge.

Under Japanese law, defamation charges can be brought against someone who insults the honour or damages the reputation of another person.

Jake Adelstein, founder of the Japan Subculture Research Centre, said: "In the past, cases like this have rarely been prosecuted, even though the statute is clear, but with the previous case only a month ago and the earlier campaign against ‘revenge porn,’ it is pretty clear that the police have launched a crackdown on this sort of cybercrime.

“There are a number of states in the US where revenge porn is a crime, but Japan was swift to make it a crime nationwide and now they are showing that there are also serious repercussions attached to defamation through deepfake videos."

None of the cases have come to court yet, although if convicted it is likely to incur a fine and a suspended sentence for a first offence.

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