Deepfake porn: “My body is not an object that can be used without my permission”

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300 pornographic films, in which the faces of porn actresses have been replaced by theirs, without their consent. This is the staggering number of forgeries found on the Internet by Énora Malagré and her lawyer. And again, the actress and host suspects that the latter did not tell her the exact number of false videos that contain her image. She certainly wants to protect her from this vertigo. From this traumatic event, still too fresh.

After twenty minutes ofinterviewit becomes increasingly difficult to testify without sobbing. Barely six months ago, Énora Malagré learned that she was the victim of deep fakes (contraction of “deep learning” and “fake”, which can be literally translated as “false depth”) of a pornographic nature. Just six months ago, she didn’t even know what that English expression meant, “the very existence of the process.”

bewilderment and confusion

is a colleague of exhaustive investigation who came across these pornographic montages featuring her while researching this serious social issue. the teams of France 2 Let Enora know, send her some screenshots so she understands what it’s all about.

I will remember all my life that moment when I clicked on the image. I burst into tears and felt physical nausea.

“I will remember all my life that moment when I clicked on the image that was being downloaded, I started to cry and I felt physical nausea, I wanted to vomit,” the victim recalls with pain. Alone in front of her desk, Énora “balances” her smartphone“disgust”.

Daze, anger, and then… the small but terrible moment of confusion. “The famous second where you wonder if that’s you in the picture.”

The pornographic deepfake has the peculiarity of being so well done, so realistic, that we do not realize that it is a montage.“, warns Master RaquelFlora Pardo, who defends victims of sexist and sexual cyberviolence. Hence the problem it creates in the victim.

“Even today I cannot explain this feeling, I cannot control this feeling”, admits Énora Malagré, disturbed. The woman on television is currently working with her psychiatrist in this “mechanism sought by the aggressors”, that painful moment in which she considered that it really was her body.

The specialist also helps you “accept that the fake deep pornography is a form of sexual assault“I saw myself – well, my face – having sex that wasn’t consensual. I thought it was sexual assault. So I felt guilty in front of the victims of other sexual violence for having formulated this idea. I felt like it almost instantly,” says the 41-year-old woman with a lump in her throat.

Yet that is precisely the will of the abusers hidden behind their screens, according to Ketsia Mutombo, president and co-founder of the collective feminists against cyberbullying : that the victim who discovers herself grafted onto a pornographic video, in humiliating positions, feels sexually assaulted, “to destroy her psychologically, to humiliate her in her flesh, to very violently return her to her sexuality.”

Harassing and humiliating women.

A deep fake, two female victims. The one whose face has been glued to another body, but also the one whose “image of her body is deviated”, rightly points out the lawyer Rachel-Flore Pardo, co-founder of Iassociation stop fisha, that fights against sexual and gender-based violence online, and co-author of the manual Fight against cybersexism (Leduc Editions).

The pornographic deepfake is gender violence.

These pornographic videos manipulated “thanks” to artificial intelligence are aimed exclusively at women and represent 96% of all deep Fakes, according to the alarming survey published in 2019 by deep trackingDutch company specialized in this technology.

“The fake deep Pornography is gender violence. In our societies that associate nudity and sexuality, men’s sexuality is accepted, so their nudity only exposes them to very little violence”, analyzes Ketsia Mutombo, from feminists against cyber element.

“It is unbearable. As if women needed a new form of harassment… The street It is not safe for us. Sometimes the business and home are not either. And now the Internet. When are we going to stop being objectified and sexualized? I’m fed up. My body is not an object that can be used without my permission,” says Énora, crying and angry.

A taboo and a feeling of loneliness for the victims

The famous takes this fight that fell on her with her arm outstretched. But only.

However, since she has testified, other well-known women have told her that they too are victims of these frauds. Impossible for the latter, very shocked, to talk about it publicly at the moment. What Énora Malagré and her fortitude understand perfectly. “But if I am left alone with my little flag, the phenomenon will remain silent”, fears the feminist activist who experiences a feeling of loneliness.

In the United States, he finds awareness of this malicious practice less taboo, more publicized. Thanks to Scarlett Johansson in particular. victim of deep fakes pornographic like many American actresses, the Hollywood star asked for ways to fight against this phenomenon, which is more widespread -for the moment- on the other side of the Atlantic, where the social network Reddit has popularized since 2014 the consumption of this fake pornographic content. His powerful testimony alerted public opinion about this misogynistic process and even allowed the approval in the summer of 2019 of a law against deep fakes by the state of Virginia.

Énora Malagré worries about the road ahead in France when she thinks about the reactions of those around her. “You’re famous, it’s normal”, or “It’s the ransom of glory”, she considers her a first class lacking compassion. “It doesn’t matter, you know it’s not really you, it’s still a porn movie,” other friends reply. “It’s not a porn movie, it’s a fake deep pornography! I did not act in this film. I did not choose to be in it, they put me there”, corrects the actress, who deplores the ravages of pornographic culture. “Does no one realize that there is a victim in the middle of all this?” she says with a downcast head.

Aimed at professionals and amateurs alike.

Because she ? Disturbing question that she often comes to mind. How did you become the target of these demeaning content creators? “They have to click on the names of the most wanted women in Google“, imagines Énora Malagré. “And then, I was on the air every night for ten years, recalls the former columnist of Don’t touch my post. With all these snippets online, it must be easy for them to pick up a lot of my facial expressions.”

“Now many innovative and cutting-edge applications can put a photo in motion and then insert it into a video. All you need is a photo of the face, which is sometimes found on a professional social network.“, I would like to underline the president of the collective feminists against cyberbullyingLawyer Rachel-Flore Pardo immediately joined in: “I have already accompanied non-famous victims. The creators of deep fakes spare no one.” But who are these men behind these montages?

“Associations of criminals who have great technical skills, but also malicious amateurs, who simply use applications,” replies Ketsia Mutombo. Who specifies, with respect to this second category: “On Telegram Where Sign – where the data is encrypted: men who do not know each other exchange criminal material to create violent means towards a targeted woman. This practice started on Facebook, they met in closed or secret groups, not listed.

Justice cannot promise anything to the victim

Énora Malagré called on the platforms that host these fake videos to remove them. She then decided to denounce X, although “the time for justice is slower than that of the aggressors, who quickly change their IP address”, she lamented.

That is exactly what Master Raquel-Flore Pardo recommends: denounce the assembly and denounce. She recalls that it is “a criminal offense, constituting a crime ofidentity theftand sometimes cyberbullying”. “It is a peculiarity of the fake deep porn: the face is recognizable. The victim can be identified, designated as a target. So, unfortunately, there is no doubt that the dissemination of these images is followed by harassment of the person (offensive messages, threats…) ”, he adds.

We cannot offer the victim any guarantee that the mount will not respawn.

The lawyer specializing in cybersexism advises these women to keep the screenshots that will serve as evidence when filing a complaint. Although “it is not uncommon that, when a victim declares that they are montages, the audience says that it is not true, that they are justifications, both the falsified images seem probable”, regrets the president of Feminists against Cyberbullying. “Not believing is already violence,” says the young woman.

Uncertainty, impotence in the face of the image that can reappear at any time, despite these steps: this is the other violence that a victim faces throughout their judicial journey. The co-founder of stop fisha accurately describes this terrible situation: “On the Internet, a new terrain for committing violence, there is still sometimes an area of ​​anarchy. Even when we report an image, even after we have obtained a criminal conviction, we do not have the means to prevent its retransmission. We cannot offer the victim a guarantee that the montage will not reappear. We can’t end the breach, promise you, ‘It’s okay, it won’t come out.'” Permanent anguish, lifelong damage.

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