Concerns are growing over the lack of AI regulation in the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Bill, particularly regarding the rising prevalence of deep fakes created by generative AI tools. Experts are urging the need for the DPDP to address this issue, especially with upcoming elections in India and the US, where manipulated images and videos could be used to tarnish the reputation of public figures. However, the current version of the DPDP Bill does not include any provisions governing artificial intelligence or emerging technologies like generative AI, causing alarm among experts who fear a gap in privacy laws.
The absence of regulations regarding facial recognition technology and AI in the DPDP Bill has raised concerns about the lack of clarity and ambiguity surrounding these rapidly evolving technologies. Mishi Choudhary, founder of the Software Freedom Law Centre, expressed disappointment that the law fails to address current and emerging issues created by generative AI. Similarly, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), although designed to provide transparency and explainability, is also struggling to keep up with the challenges posed by AI, leading the EU to work on a separate regulatory framework.
With elections on the horizon, experts emphasize the urgency of mandating clear labeling for AI-generated content to prevent its potentially misleading influence on voters. Jaspreet Bindra, Founder and MD of Tech Whisperer, contends that the government should include this clause in the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill. Another concern is the ease with which objectionable content can be distributed through generative AI by smaller, harder-to-track developers compared to larger intermediaries and platforms.
India’s AI market is projected to grow significantly, with estimates suggesting it could reach $7.8 billion from $3.1 billion between 2020 and 2025. The number of AI startups in India has also multiplied in recent years. Earlier this year, reports indicated that generative AI platforms such as ChatGPT and Google’s Bard might be prohibited from processing Indian citizens’ personal data available in the public domain, as the DPDP Bill restricts search engine companies and developers from scraping large amounts of publicly available internet data.
In response to the concerns surrounding AI regulation, the government intends to introduce provisions governing AI in the forthcoming Digital India (DI) Bill, which aims to modernize the 23-year-old IT Act of 2000. However, some experts warn that the DI Bill may take several years to become legislation, while others argue that including these provisions in the DPDP Bill would be more prudent.
While some experts believe that the DPDP Bill adequately covers AI and emerging technologies, others argue that the Digital India Act should encompass all emerging technologies since it seeks to replace the previous IT Act. As the IT landscape enters the Web 3.0 era, an overhaul of the IT Act is necessary, and the DPDP, focused on personal data protection, should be broad enough to encompass all technologies.
In conclusion, the absence of AI regulation in the DPDP Bill has raised concerns among experts, particularly regarding the proliferation of deep fakes created by generative AI tools. The need to address this issue becomes even more urgent with upcoming elections in India and the US. Experts emphasize the importance of clear labeling for AI-generated content and the challenges posed by the open source nature of generative AI. While the government plans to address AI regulation in the Digital India Bill, concerns remain about the time it may take for it to become legislation. As the AI market continues to grow in India, the inclusion of AI provisions becomes crucial for protecting privacy and addressing the evolving landscape of AI technology.