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19-12-2022

12:00:AM

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Table of Content


  • GS 3 Science and Technology
  • Deepfake technology: how and why China is planning to regulate it
  • Remembering the 1925 Kakori Train Action and its young revolutionary leaders
  • Decriminalisation of offences under GST
  • Fact File
  • Missile destroyer INS Mormugao commissioned into Indian Navy
  • NCW moves SC to raise minimum age of marriage for Muslim women


Deepfake technology: how and why China is planning to regulate it

GS-3: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-technology, Bio-technology and issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights.

 

The Cyberspace Administration of China is going to release new regulations to restrict the use of deep synthesis technology and curb disinformation

Deep synthesis is defined as the use of technologies such as deep learning, augmented reality and others to generate text, images, audio and video to create virtual scenes. The most mischievous application of deep synthesis is deepfakes, where synthetic media is used to swap the face or voice of one person for another.    



Deepfake Technology

  • It is a video, photo, or audio recording that seems real but has been manipulated.
  • The main ingredient in deepfakes is machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI), which has made it possible to produce deepfakes much faster at a lower cost.
  • A class of deep-learning algorithms called generative adversarial networks (GANs) will be the main engine of deepfakes development in the future. 
  • GAN-generated faces are near-impossible to tell from real faces
  • It is used for nefarious purposes like scams and hoaxes, celebrity pornography, election manipulation, social engineering, automated disinformation attacks, identity theft and financial fraud.


Working of Deepfake Technology 

  • Deepfake content is created by using two competing AI algorithms – 
  • One is called the generator and the other is called the discriminator. 
  • The generator, which creates the phony multimedia content, asks the discriminator to determine whether the content is real or artificial.
  • Together, the generator and discriminator form a GAN
  • The first step in establishing a GAN is to identify the desired output and create a training dataset for the generator. 
  • Once the generator begins creating an acceptable level of output, video clips can be fed to the discriminator.
  • As the generator gets better at creating fake video clips, the discriminator gets better at spotting them and converse is also true. 
  • Each time the discriminator accurately identifies content as being fabricated, it provides the generator with valuable information about how to improve the next deepfake.


Impact of Deepfake Technology

  • Social Impact
  • With synthetic media and fake news, deepfakes create a zero-trust society, where people cannot, or no longer bother to, distinguish truth from falsehood. And when trust is eroded, it is easier to raise doubts about specific events.
  • They pose a personal security risk
  • They can mimic biometric data and can potentially trick systems that rely on face, voice, vein or gait recognition.
  • They could mean trouble for the courts where faked events could be entered as evidence. 
  • They pose threat to women as nonconsensual pornography accounts for 96 percent of deepfakes currently deployed on the Internet.
  • Political Impact
  • They can ostracize, insulate, and divide the people on religion, class, caste and demographic basis.
  • They can change and impact the voting behaviour.
  • Ex., right before the legislative assembly elections, BJP politician Manoj Tiwari used deepfake to create a video criticising the Delhi government in multi-language.
  • Financial Impact
  • They can use machine learning technology to clone the identity of people to commit financial crimes.
  • Microsoft has worked on an AI-powered deepfake detection software for this purpose. 
  • The tool can automatically analyze videos and photos to provide a confidence score that the media has been manipulated.
  • They could play a role in supercharging scams in corporate markets.
  • Phone someone out of the blue and they are unlikely to transfer money to an unknown bank account. 
  • Extortion could become a major threat. 

This means that deepfakes put companies, individuals, and the government at increased risk.

 

Government Policies

  • There is no explicit law banning deepfakes in india.
  • Amidst the current laws in force, sections 67 and 67A of The Information Technology Act 2000 (“IT Act”) provide punishment for publishing sexually explicit material in electronic form.
  • Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 provides punishment for defamation.


Steps taken by various international stakeholders and foreign Governments

  • In 2018, the European Union has an updated ‘Code of Practice’ to stop the spread of disinformation through deepfakes.
  • It mandates tech companies such as Google, Meta, and Twitter to take measures in countering deepfakes and fake accounts on their platforms. 
  • In case of non-compliance, the company will have to face penalties as much as 6% of their annual global turnover.
  • In July 2021, the U.S. introduced the bipartisan Deepfake Task Force Act to assist the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to counter deepfake technology. 


Challenges

  • Data needs for detection-
  •  Deepfake detection tools must generally be trained with large and diverse data sets that are constantly updated to reliably detect deepfakes.
  • Detection is not yet automated- 
  • Current tools cannot perform a complete and automated analysis that reliably detects deepfakes.
  • Detection may not be enough-
  • There is a possibility that even a perfect detection technology may not prevent a fake video from being effective as disinformation.
  • Inconsistent social media standards- 
  • The major social media companies have different standards for moderating deepfakes.
  • Legal issues-
  • Proposed laws or regulations addressing deepfake media may raise questions regarding an individual’s freedom of speech and expression and the privacy rights of individuals falsely portrayed in deepfakes. 
  • Potential legislation aimed at combating deepfakes could face enforcement challenge.


Possible solutions

  • Provenance of the media can stop fake rumours.
  • The government should set up a body to monitor deepfakes using blockchain technology.  


Benefits of Deepfake Technology

  • GANs can be used to synthesize fake medical images to train disease detection algorithms for rare diseases and to minimize patient privacy concerns.
  • Voice-cloning deepfakes can restore people’s voices when they lose them to disease. 
  • Deepfake videos can enliven galleries and museums.
  • For the entertainment industry, technology can be used to improve the dubbing on foreign-language films, and resurrect dead actors.

 

We need platforms that propagate the information be held accountable. The government enforces efforts to ensure technology has enough positive use cases to outweigh the negatives and educate people about deepfakes and give enough sense to not share malicious fake information. The government should carefully craft these laws so as not to erode free speech rights or undermine legitimate uses of the technology.

 

[Ref- TH]




Remembering the 1925 Kakori Train Action and its young revolutionary leaders

GS-1: Modern Indian History from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

 

In 1927, on 17 December – Rajendranath Lahiri and on 19 December –Ashfaqullah Khan, Ram Prasad Bismil and Thakur Roshan Singh – total four revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement were hanged. They were hanged two years after the Kakori Train Robbery. In the robbery, the members of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) looted a train transporting money to the British treasury.




Hindustan Republican Association (HRA)

  • Background
  • In 1920, Gandhiji launched ‘Non-Cooperation Movement (NCM)’ based on principle of Non-violence and methods of Satyagraha.
  • In 1922, Gandhiji called off the NCM abruptly after Chauri-Chaura incident despite internal disagreement within the Indian National Congress (INC).
  • Therefore, a group of young men, who were disillusioned by Gandhian tactics, found HRA.
  • HSRA


  • Founded by: Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan, Sachindra Nath Bakshi and trade unionist Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee.
  • Other prominent figures: Chandra Shekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev etc.
  • In 1923, HRA constitution was drafted by Ram Prasad Bismil at Allahabad with the help of Lala Har Dayal.
  • On January 1, 1925, manifesto of HRA – ‘The Revolutionary (Krantikari)’ was released.
  • The manifesto sought to achieve ‘Federal Republic of the United States of India’ after overthrowing British rule.
  • It also demanded socialist society for India and universal suffrage.
  • It also established bomb manufacturing units at Calcutta and Deogarh.
  • In 1928, HRA was renamed as Hindustan Republican Socialist Association (HSRA) after formal merging with various other revolutionary groups of Punjab, Bihar and Bengal.
  • Prominent activities of HRA/HSRA:
  • Kakori conspiracy, 1925
  • Central Assembly bombing case, 1928
  • Bombed a train carrying Lord Irwin, 1929
  • By the 1930s, Most of the HSRA leaders were either in jail or dead. Thus, it fragmented in various regional factions. 


Kakori Train Incident

  • The Number 8 Down Train, carrying money meant to be deposited in the British treasury in Lucknow, ran between Shahjahanpur and Lucknow.
  • The revolutionaries believed that the money belongs to Indians and planned to rob with an objective of fund the HRA and garner public attention for their work and mission.
  • On August 9, 1925, around Kakori station, Rajendranath Lahiri (seated inside) pulled the chain and stopped the train for the same pupose and around 10 revolutionaries, including Ram Prasad Bismil and Ashfaqullah Khan, entered the train and looted the treasury bags (containing approx Rs 4,600) and escaped to Lucknow.
  • Though, due to a misfiring Mauser gun, one passenger (a lawyer named Ahmad Ali) was killed during the robbery, which negatively harmed the intention of HRA to elicit a positive public reaction. 
  • Following the incident, the British authorities undertook a violent crackdown and arrested around 40 members of HRA including Bismil and Ashfaqullah.
  • Ashfaqullah initially escaped to Nepal and then Daltonganj (in present-day Jharkhand), but caught after 1 year.
  • Out of 40 arrested, 4 were hanged and others were imprisoned.
  • At that time, only major leader of HRA, who evaded arrest was Chandrashekhar Azad.


Significance of Kakori incident

  • Symbolic message to the British Raj.
  • Even though money looted was too small, it created significant impact by looting money specifically meant for the British treasury.
  • The violent crackdown by British authority set an example for future revolutionaries. 
  • It restored British authority in the minds of the people.

 

[Ref- IE]




Decriminalisation of offences under GST

GS-3: Government Budgeting.

 

In the 48th GST Council meeting, chaired by Finance Minister, the council recommended to decriminalise certain offences under Section 132 of the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act, 2017. In addition, the council also recommended an increased threshold of the amount of tax for prosecution, reducing the compounding amount in GST etc. for the facilitation of trade.

 


Background 

  • Since the implementation of GST, taxpayers started using loopholes as strategies to avoid paying indirect tax, resulting into huge tax evasion.
  • In result, Tax authorities started using technology and data available from e-way bills and GST returns to check evasion.
  • Moreover, the GST law was made stringent and accompanied with penalties and guidelines to combat corruption and maintain an effective tax collection system.

 

Types of penalties under GST

  • There are two types of penalties under a GST law, which may be both concurrent and simultaneous.
  1. Monetary fines and the seizure of goods under section 122 to 131 of the CGST Act of 2017: For violating statutory provisions.
  2. Criminal Penalities under section 132 to 138 of the CGST Act of 2017: Awarded in a criminal court following a prosecution and include imprisonment and fines. 
  • The offences under this section is further divided into two catagoriescognizable & bailable and non-cognisable & bailable.
  • Criminal Conspiracy
  • If a group of two persons or more agree to commit an illegal act like tax evasion, fraud etc. they are held liable under the act of criminal conspiracy under the CGST act.
  • Section 120A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC): Defines criminal conspiracy.
  • Section 120B of IPC: deals with punishment for the criminal conspiracy.
  • Section 46 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC): Deals with how the arrest is made.


Recommendations by GST council to decriminalize the GST offence

  • Raising the minimum threshold of tax amount for launching prosecution under GST from existing 1 crore to 2 crore.
  • Decriminalization of offences under Section 132 of the CGST Act, 2017 such as obstructing or preventing any officer from doing his duties, deliberate tempering of material evidence and failure to supply information.


Impact of decriminalisation

  • Improves risk taking ability of the business
  • Improves ability to conduct business
  • Boost Ease of Doing Business
  • Encouragement for the investor as they are free from fear of criminal sanctions
  • Ensure Growth and Development of Indian Economy

Note: The law contains sufficient penalties to deter against tax evasion.


Other Recommendations by the council for trade facilitation

  • Refunding unregistered persons:
  • At present, there is no mechanism to refund of tax borne by unregistered buyers in cases where the agreement for supply of service is cancelled and the time period of issuance of credit note by the concerned supplier is over.
  • Facilitating e-commerce for micro enterprises: 
  • The council approved for allowing unregistered suppliers and composition taxpayers to make intra-state supply of goods through E-Commerce Operators (ECOs), subject to certain conditions. 
  • It will be implemented from October 2023 after development of the requisite functionality on the portal and providing sufficient time for preparedness by the ECOs.


Way Forward

  • If the decriminalisation of GST offences are implemented then –
  • Prosecution, arrest and imprisonment in GST cases would only be in the rarest of rare cases of habitual or willful defaulters. 
  • Minor grievances may be dealt with in other resolution mechanisms such as Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism, private ruling and mediation, faceless adjudication and appeals, etc.

[Ref- TH]




Fact Files


Missile destroyer INS Mormugao commissioned into Indian Navy 

  • Recently, INS Mormugao (Pennant D67) was commissioned into the Indian Navy coinciding with the day that ‘Operation Vijay’ was launched in 1961 to free Goa from Portuguese rule.
  • The ship was named after a key port in Goa.
  • It was built by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDSL).
  • It is the second of four ships under the Project 15B stealth-guided missile destroyers (‘Visakhapatnam’-class destroyers) after INS Visakhapatnam (Commissioned in 2021).


Key Features

  • The ship has around 75 per cent indigenous content
  • Equipped with state-of-the-art weapons and sensors
  • Surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles
  • Modern surveillance radar which provides target data to weapon systems
  • Capable of achieving speeds of over 30 knots
  • Able to fight under nuclear, biological and chemical warfare conditions.

Project 15A and 15B

  • Project 15A: Under this mission, Indian Navy has commissioned three guided missile destroyers of the Kolkata class — INS Kolkata, INS Kochi, and INS Chennai – over the last decade.
  • In 2011, Project 15B for four guided missile destroyers was signed.
  • They are named after four major cities around the country — Visakhapatnam, Mormugao, Imphal, and Surat.

Class

  • A ship ‘class’ describes a group of vessels of similar tonnage, usage, capabilities, and weaponry.
  • It is generally identified by its lead ship. For example, INS Visakhapatnam in case of Project 15B.

NCW moves SC to raise minimum age of marriage for Muslim women

  • The National Commission for Women (NCW) filed a plea in the Supreme Court to raise the minimum age of marriage for Muslim women to be on par with persons belonging to other faiths.
  • Under the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, marriageable age of a Muslim woman is 15 years only.
  • While, Legal age for marriage in India at present is considered to be over 18 years for women and 21 years for men. 
  • In addition, the government announced its decision to increase the age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 years under the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which is referred to standing committee.


















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