An artificially intelligent (AI) deep fake video of a woman “returning” after going missing 13 years ago has sparked outrage over the abuse of this technology.
In 2010, Iwona Wieczorek vanished after leaving a nightclub in the early hours of the morning in Sopot, Poland.
The then 19-year-old Wieczorek was last spotted by CCTV cameras in several places as she walked home to her parents’ house.
The disappearance of Wieczorek was one of the most high-profile cases in Poland and had a significant impact on the country.
@histoire.sanglante Iwona wieczorek 😕🩸#iwonawieczorek #iwonawieczorekniezyje #morderca #kryminalnehistorie #prawdziwe #dlaciebie #opowieść #strasznahistoria #strasznehistorienafaktach #strasznefakty #pl ♬ Suspense, horror, piano and music box – takaya
The one-minute-long clip posted on TikTok last month shows an AI-generated Wieczorek, who has not been seen for over a decade, speaking directly to the camera.
“You do not recognize me? I am Iwona Wieczorek. Today I will tell you my story,” a deepfake and older-looking Wieczorek says in the clip according to The Daily Mail.
“In July 2010, together with a few friends, we decided to go to a party at the Dream Club in Sopot. I didn’t have a good time last night.
“I had an argument with my friends. Around 02:50, I left the club and went to the seaside boulevards. I was going home.
“However, I never made it home because I disappeared in unexplained circumstances.”
Somehow I feel this will be one of the photographs to define the early 21st century life in Poland. July 17, 2010, just after 4 am in Gdańsk. 19-year old Iwona Wieczorek caught on surveillance camera as she walks home after a night out. She’s been missing since. pic.twitter.com/DQV5VIQF8K
— Wojciech Kość (@WojciechKosc) July 17, 2020
The AI-generated clip ends with Wieczorek asking Internet users to post their theories about what might have happened to her when she vanished over a decade ago.
Abuse of Deepfake Technology
The deepfake video has racked up over 3.4 million views on TikTok — but the use of AI to resurrect the image of a missing woman has been condemned as distasteful and exploitative.
According to the Daily Mail, Wieczorek’s mother slammed the viral deepfake footage to Polish newspaper Fakt: “Why would anyone make fun of a human tragedy? Why is she playing with my daughter’s image and family tragedy.”
The video highlights the lack of legislation in place to protect victims from abuse in deepfakes as AI technology becomes more advanced and accessible.
In the U.S., there is currently no federal legislation to protect against people’s images being used without their consent in deepfake porn or with any associated technology.
In March, PetaPixel reported on a case in which high school students allegedly broke no laws when they created an AI deepfake video of a principal shouting racist slurs and threatening Black students.
Image credits: Header photo sourced via TikTokfirstname.lastname@example.org.