Telegram Still Hasn’t Removed an AI Bot That’s Abusing Women

In one Telegram group chat about the bot, its owner says that Telegram has blocked mentions of its name. However, WIRED was unable to confirm this or any action taken by Telegram. Neither Telegram’s spokesperson or the service’s founder, Pavel Durov, responded to requests for comment. The company, which is believed to be based in Dubai but has servers all around the world, has never publicly commented about the harm caused by the Telegram bot or its continued position to allow it to operate.

Since it was founded in 2013, Telegram has positioned itself as a private space for free speech, and its end-to-end encrypted mode has been used by journalists and activists around the world to protect privacy and evade censorship. However, the messaging app has run into trouble with problematic content. In July 2017, Telegram said it would create a team of moderators to remove terrorism-related content after Indonesia threatened it with a ban. Apple also temporarily removed it from its App Store in 2018 after finding inappropriate content on the platform.

“I think they [Telegram] have a very libertarian perspective towards content moderation and just any sort of governance on their platform,” says Mahsa Alimardani, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute. Alimardani, who has worked with activists in Iran, points to Telegram notifying its users about a fake version of the app created by authorities in the country. “It seems that the times that they have actually acted, it’s when state authorities have got involved.”

On October 23, Italy’s data protection body, the Garante per la Protezione dei dati Personali, opened an investigation into Telegram and has asked it to provide data. In a statement, the regulator said the nude images generated by the bot could cause “irreparable damage” to their victims. Since Italian officials opened their investigation, Patrini has conducted more research looking for deepfake bots on Telegram. He says there are a number of Italian-language bots that appear to offer the same functionalities as the one Sensity previously found, however they do not appear to be working.

Separate research from academics of at the University of Milan and the University of Turin has also found networks of Italian-language Telegram groups, some of which were private and could only be accessed by invitation, sharing non-consensual intimate images of women that don’t involve deepfake technology. Some groups they found had more than 30,000 members and required members to share non-consensual images or be removed from the group. One group focused on sharing images of women that were taken in public places without their knowledge.

“Telegram should look inward and hold itself accountable,” says Honza Červenka, a solicitor at law firm McAllister Olivarius, which specializes in non-consensual images and technology. Červenka says that new laws are needed to force tech companies to better protect their users and clamp down on the use of abusive automation technology. “If it continues offering the Telegram Bot API to developers, it should institute an official bot store and certify bots the

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Deepfake bot on Telegram is violating women by forging nudes from regular pics

A free, easy-to-use deepfake bot found on the Telegram messenger app has victimized seemingly hundreds of thousands of women by replacing the clothed parts of their bodies in photos with nudity. More than 100,000 of these nonconsensual sexual images have been posted publicly online, but the bot has produced hundreds of thousands more that haven’t been traced. 

A website promoting the bot claimed that more than 700,000 images of women have been manipulated to replace their clothing with nudity, as of Thursday, and that more than 100,000 abusers have uploaded images to the bot. Those number couldn’t be independently verified. 

The victims are mostly private individuals, women whose photos were taken off social media or pulled from a personal stash of pics, according to a research report about the bot Tuesday, which traced more than 100,000 publicly posted images of victims of this bot. Some victims had originally been photographed in bathing suits or underwear. Some were wearing simple T-shirts and shorts. Some were visibly underage. All are women.

Deepfake porn isn’t new. Deepfake technology — artificial intelligence that makes sophisticated media forgeries — has been used early and often to fabricate pornography. But this Telegram bot takes the ease and access of this technology to a new level. 

“The innovation here is not necessarily the AI in any form,” said Giorgio Patrini, CEO of deepfake-research company Sensity and coauthor of the report. “It’s just the fact that it can reach a lot of people, and very easily.”

Computer manipulation of media has existed for decades, and sexual imagery has been weaponized online for as long as the internet could host photos. Whether it’s nude photos posted without consent or crudely doctored forgeries, sexual images have been weaponized to extort, threaten, humiliate and harass victims. 

A Sensity diagram of how nonconsensual sexual images are created and shared by the Telegram bot. 


Sensity

But only in the last few years has deepfake tech intensified the threat of manipulated sexual media, posing frightening implications for what may come. 

“The deepfake phenomenon is even more alarming because it doesn’t look Photoshopped. It’s much more easy for somebody without the technical knowledge to make one,” said Mary Anne Franks, a law professor at the University of Miami and president of the online-abuse nonprofit Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. “It also makes the ability to avoid this kind of abuse much more difficult.” 

With this Telegam bot, any woman who’s ever posted a selfie of herself from the waist up could be a potential victim. Even women out walking could be victimized if surreptitiously snapped by the wrong stranger. 

And in one of the most disturbing forms of abuse with this bot, photographs of children have been uploaded to the bot’s AI, automatically manipulated to sexualize the child and then shared publicly.

Neither Sensity’s report nor this article are disclosing the name of the bot, to avoid amplifying it. CNET viewed galleries

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A Deepfake Porn Bot Is Being Used to Abuse Thousands of Women

“This is now something that a community has embedded into a messaging platform app and therefore they have pushed forward the usability and the ease to access this type of technology,” Patrini says. The Telegram bot is powered by external servers, Sensity says, meaning it lowers the barrier of entry. “In a way, it is literally deepfakes as a service.”

Telegram did not answer questions about the bot and the abusive images it produces. Sensity’s report also says the company did not respond when it reported the bot and channels several months ago. The company has a limited set of terms of service. One of its three bullet points says that people should not “post illegal pornographic content on publicly viewable Telegram channels, bots, etc.”

In an expanded set of frequently asked questions Telegram says it does process requests to take down “illegal public content.” It adds that Telegram chats and group chats are private and the company doesn’t process requests related to them, however, channels and bots are publicly available. A section on takedowns says “we can take down porn bots.”

Before the publication of this article the Telegram channel which pushed out daily galleries of bot-generated deepfake images saw all of the messages within it removed. It is not clear who these were removed by.

For this sort of activity there is usually some data on who has used the bot and their intentions. Within the Telegram channels linked to the bot there is a detailed “privacy policy” and people using the service have answered self-selecting surveys about their behavior.

An anonymous poll posted to the Telegram channel in July 2019 was answered by more than 7,200 people, of which 70 per cent of these said they were from “Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and the entire former USSR.” All other regions of the world had less than six per cent of the poll share each. People using the bot also self-reported finding it from Russian social media network VK. Sensity’s report says that it has found a large amount of deepfake content on the social network and the bot also has a dedicated page on the site. A spokesperson for VK says it “doesn’t tolerate such behavior on the platform” and has “permanently blocked this community.”

A separate July 2019 poll answered by 3,300 people revealed people’s motivations for using the bot. It asked the question: “Who are you interested to undress in the first place?” The overwhelming majority of respondents, 63 percent, selected the option: “Familiar girls, whom i know in real life.” Celebrities and “stars” was the second most selected category (16 per cent), “models and beauties from Instagram” was the third most selected option with eight percent.

Experts fear these type of images will be used to humiliate and blackmail women. But as deepfake technology has been rapidly scaled, the law has failed to keep up and has mostly focussed on the future political impact of the technology.

Since deepfakes were invented at the end

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Creepy deepfake bot created fake nudes by ‘undressing’ images of more than 100,000 women: research

A deepfake bot has used artificial intelligence to “undress” images of women on the messaging app Telegram, according to new research.

Security specialist Sensity announced the research Tuesday, noting that the bot lets users “photo-realistically ‘strip naked’ images of women.”

Deepfakes use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to create false, but realistic-looking clips.

TERRIFYING HIGH-TECH PORN: CREEPY ‘DEEPFAKE’ VIDEOS ARE ON THE RISE

Deepfakes have become a the focal point of those who fight online misinformation. (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

Deepfakes have become a the focal point of those who fight online misinformation. (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

“Today we go public with the findings of a new investigation,” Sensity tweeted. “Early this year we uncovered a new deepfake bot on Telegram, an evolution of the infamous DeepNude from 2019, which ‘undressed’ at least 100.000 women without their knowledge.”

The researchers explained that to “strip” an image, users upload a photo of the targeted person to the bot. They then receive the processed image after what is described as a short generation process.

Sensity said that at least 104,852 women have been targeted and had their personal “stripped” images shared publicly as of the end of July 2020. “The number of these images grew by 198% in the last 3 months until July,” explained Sensity, in a statement.

CREEPY APOLLO 11 NIXON DEEPFAKE VIDEO CREATED BY MIT TO SHOW DANGERS OF HIGH-TECH MISINFORMATION

Some 70% of the targets are private individuals whose photos were taken from social media accounts or private material, according to the researchers. Some of the targets appeared to be underage, Sensity added.

Fox News has reached out to Telegram with a request for comment on this story.

Doctored videos have been in the spotlight recent years. In 2019, for example, video clips of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, were manipulated to falsely depict her as drunk, sparking outrage.

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Scientists at MIT have also highlighted the dangers that deepfakes pose by digitally manipulating video and audio to create a creepy deepfake of President Nixon “delivering” a speech that would have been used in the event of an Apollo 11 disaster.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Source Article

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Bot Generated Fake Nudes Of Over 100,000 Women Without Their Knowledge, Says Report

Topline

Around 104,852 women had their photos uploaded to a bot, on the WhatsApp-like text messaging app Telegram, which were then used to generate computer-generated fake nudes of them without their knowledge or consent, researchers revealed on Tuesday.

Key Facts

These so-called “deepfake” images were created by an ecosystem of bots on the messaging app Telegram that could generate fake nudes on request, according to a report released by Sensity, an intelligence firm that specializes in deepfakes.

The report found that users interacting with these bots were mainly creating fake nudes of women they know from images taken from social media, which is then shared and traded on other Telegram channels.

The Telegram channels the researchers examined were made up of 101,080 members worldwide, with 70% coming from Russia and other eastern European countries.

The bot that generated these images received significant advertising on the Russian social media website VK.

A small number of individuals targeted by the bot appear to be underage.

Big Number

70%. That’s the percentage of bot’s victims who were private individuals, not celebrities or influencers. The fake nudes of these women were generated using photos that were either taken from social media or private material. This is unlike deepfake non-consensual pornographic videos where celebrities are often the target.

Crucial Quote

Sensity’s CEO and Chief Scientist Giorgio Patrini told Forbes that unlike celebrity deepfake videos, which require multiple images and videos, “only a single image is needed to operate this technology, and simply by uploading to a chat room,” He notes that this completely changes completely who can be targeted, “if you have ever shared publicly one photo on social media, you may be under threat.”

Surprising Fact

While direct messages on Telegram feature unbreakable end-to-end encryption, which makes illegal content hard to trace, Sensity found that the Telegram channels used in this investigation were simply accessible by searching the right keywords among public groups. According to Patrini, these channels don’t even try to hide and they include tens of thousands of users, with no vetting or selection. “Actually, bot services like this one are made for business, they charge by usage, and they want to reach a big audience to monetize. There is little to no attempt to police and take them down,” he added.

Key Background

Deepfakes are a form of forged media generated by using a type of artificial intelligence called neural networks in which a person an image or video is replaced by someone else’s likeness. The Telegram bot discovered by Sensity’s researcher sounds similar to an app called DeepNude, that used AI to automatically generate non-consensual nudes of women in photos, by ‘stripping’ their clothing from the images. DeepNude was shut down by its developers in a single day after it received extensive critical media coverage. The app’s creators however sold DeepNude’s license on an online marketplace later for $30,000, following which the

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