Chinese Authorities Make First ChatGPT Misuse Arrest Following Train Crash Fake News

Swarajya StaffTuesday, May 9, 2023 4:29 pm IST
ChatGPT (Flickr)
ChatGPT (Flickr)

China's authorities have reportedly arrested a man for using AI technology to fabricate news about a train crash and disseminate it online via several accounts. This marks the country's first ChatGPT misuse arrest.

Gansu police detained a suspect with the surname Hong on Sunday for fabricating false information with the use of AI technology.

The cyber division of a county police bureau noticed a fabricated news article claiming nine deaths in a nearby train accident on 25 April. This case was brought to light by the South China Morning Post.

Kongtong county's cybersecurity officers discovered an article on Baidu's blog platform, Baijiahao, which was posted by over 20 accounts at the same time.

The stories got 15,000+ clicks before authorities noticed, according to the statement, reports The Indian Express.

Hong was accused of "picking quarrels and provoking trouble," a crime that typically carries a five-year maximum sentence, according to the Gansu public security department. However, in particularly severe cases, the offender may be imprisoned for 10 years and given additional penalties.

Chinese authorities have made their first arrest related to the use of "deepfake" technology, following the implementation of regulations in January. This marks the first public disclosure of such an arrest.

Police traced an article to a company owned by suspect Hong, operating personal media platforms in Guangdong province. Hong's home was searched and he was detained after 10 days.

According to the statement, Hong admitted to using multiple acquired accounts by bypassing Baijiahao's duplication check function.

He used ChatGPT to promptly create varying versions of the same fake story by incorporating popular social trends from past years in China and subsequently posted them onto his Baijiahao accounts.

Chinese users can access ChatGPT's service through a VPN connection as it's not accessible directly with their IP addresses.

After Microsoft and Google announced their breakthroughs, Chinese IT companies started testing their own versions of ChatGPT.

China uses firewalls to carefully watch Sina Weibo, its social media platform with 592 million users, to prevent any negative comments about the Communist Party, according to the report.

China's internet regulator fears the use of deep synthesis technology in online scams or defamation. Unchecked growth is a concern for the regulator.

China's law enforcement agencies have expressed concerns and warnings about ChatGPT, as it gained popularity in recent months.

Chinese police in Beijing cautioned the public about "rumours" generated by ChatGPT, according to the Post, in one of the first references to the chatbot by the security apparatus.

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