The creation and sharing of pornographic deepfakes without consent is to be made illegal after the Law Commission recommended a series of changes to the UK's online and privacy legislation.

The Law Commission also advised that Police should be given more powers to tackle the installation of hidden cameras for recording someone without their consent.

These recommendations are expected to form part of the country's long-awaited Online Safety Bill which will be put before Parliament next month.

However, with new legislation banning the creation of certain deepfakes, many may be wondering what a deepfake is.

What is a deepfake?

Deepfake technology is relatively new and is largely unknown to much of the public.

A deepfake is a fake image created using advanced artificial Intelligence called Deep Learning and is achieved by using an existing image of the person to make it seem as though they are saying or doing something that they did not.

While deepfakes can be used for comedic purposes such as when Channel 4 used this technology to create a deepfake of the Queen giving an alternative Christmas Day speech, they can also be used for sinister motives.

Deepfakes are often used to create revenge porn, fake news and can be used for fraudulent activities.

Actors Margot Robbie and Scarlett Johansson have both fallen victim to deepfake pornography with Johansson coming out as early as 2010 to speak about taking action.

In an interview, she said “I think it’s a useless pursuit, legally, mostly because the internet is a vast wormhole of darkness that eats itself. It’s a fruitless pursuit for me but a different situation than someone who loses a job over their image being used like that.”

Adding: "The internet is just another place where sex sells and vulnerable people are preyed upon. And any low-level hacker can steal a password and steal an identity. It’s just a matter of time before any one person is targeted.”

Other actors and public figures like Tom Cruise and former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson have also been 'deepfaked'.

In 2019, a deepfake of Mr Johnson endorsing then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was created by an AI think tank to convince MPs to legislate on the issue.