Who’s Minding the Cyberspace Store?

Who’s Minding the Cyberspace Store?

No sooner had I blogged in late January about the problem of deepfakes than headlines erupted about singer Taylor Swift being victimized by users of Artificial Intelligence.

The outrage from fans over the depiction of her in a pornographic production got it quickly pulled from X (forever to be known as “the site formerly called Twitter”).

Although Swift’s situation made headlines, apparently this has been going on since 2017. Aside from Swift’s case, one has to ask: what about the victims who don’t have a gazillion followers to come to their rescue?

Wild West Parallels

Who’s Minding the Cyberspace Store? blog post by Ken Walker Writer. Pictured an artist rendering of cyberspace reaching out while a person uses a phone.This open lawlessness reminds me a bit of the Wild West. According to this article on the Live Science website, the frontiers weren’t as dangerous as is often portrayed in popular media. Yet they certainly had their downsides: “Parts of the Wild West were demonstrably more violent … especially in places where gold and other minerals were discovered … For example, murder and physical assault weren’t uncommon.”

It doesn’t take much imagination to draw parallels between the Wild West and today’s technological landscape. Though a neophyte when it comes to cyberspace, I still have to ask: Why should one have to be of Swift’s stature to get fake porn removed? And why did the gatekeepers at X even allow its posting to begin with?

I realize things are complex when it comes to tracking down perpetrators, but everywhere someone goes in cyberspace so does their digital footprint.

After all, it only took two weeks for investigators to track down the robocallers who created the phony messages from President Joe Biden, purporting to be him telling voters to stay away from the New Hampshire primary.

Does the fact that 99% of AI porn victims are women have anything to do with the lack of outrage and effort to track down the perpetrators? Or is it that the cyber detectives aren’t as clever as we think they are?

“Oops, We Did it Again”

It isn’t just women who being victimized by fraudsters. There are people out there who are actively trying to steal anything that isn’t nailed down.

Pictured: A scrrenshot saying "Security"Recently, for the fourth time in the past decade, I received one of those: “Oops, sorry we fumbled away a treasure trove of your personal information” messages. The kind that offer a year or two of free ID theft protection. Seems this ought to be a lifetime offer amid the dark web’s never-ending appetite for thievery.

The first time was personally memorable because it was linked to removal of a cancerous tumor from my scalp. When I arrived at the doctor’s office, the receptionist handed me a high-tech pad to complete paperwork. I had heard about such devices, but had never used one (fortunately, no one else has ever asked me to do so again).

More than a year after treatment, a letter showed up in an envelope that looked like another of the disposable offers that regularly come in the mail. I almost tossed it, but at the last minute decided to open it.

Turns out it was from a firm on the West Coast that had suffered a data breach related to that doctor’s visit. Things like my home address, Social Security number, and health information were at risk.

The fact that it keeps happening leaves me wondering who’s minding the cyberspace store. Of course, a financial loss doesn’t compare to the kind of personal degradation the victims of deepfakes (98% of which are pornographic) suffer.

Yet without some corrective action soon, the damage will increase exponentially. I don’t think the world can stand it.

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