Scarlett Johansson slams internet's 'depravity' and porn 'deepfakes'

Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson says it's a "lost cause... trying to protect yourself from the internet and its depravity".

The Avengers and Lost in Translation star has spoken out against the latest threat to her dignity - the 'deepfakes' phenomenon, in which people's faces are transplanted onto others' bodies in stunningly realistic videos - usually, for people like Johansson, porn clips.

She told The Washington Post she's tried "many, many times" to get offending material taken offline, without much success.

"Clearly this doesn't affect me as much because people assume it's not actually me in a porno, however demeaning it is. I think it's a useless pursuit, legally, mostly because the internet is a vast wormhole of darkness that eats itself."

She said each country has its own copyright laws, so while she might have luck in getting a US site to take down material, other jurisdictions might not have the powers - or willingness - to do anything.

The 34-year-old, who has a net worth estimated at US$140 million, said while it's "fruitless" for her to bother anymore, for people who might lose their job or careers over a deepfake video, it clearly isn't.

"People think that they are protected by their internet passwords and that only public figures or people of interest are hacked. But the truth is, there is no difference between someone hacking my account or someone hacking the person standing behind me on line at the grocery store's account. It just depends on whether or not someone has the desire to target you."

Screenshot from a 'deepfake' video.
Screenshot from a 'deepfake' video. Photo credit: File

Nude photographs Johansson took of herself for her then-husband were stolen and leaked online in 2011. The culprit, Christopher Chaney, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Other famous women targeted by Chaney included Mila Kunis and Christina Aguilera.

In a recent warning, tech security company Symantec said deepfakes would be a growing threat over 2019, as bandwidth increased and artificial intelligence got better.

"All it takes is a gaming laptop, an internet connection, some passion, some patience, of course, and maybe some rudimentary knowledge of neural networks," Symantec researcher Vijay Thaware said at a recent security conference

Johansson warned there was nothing to stop deepfakes.

"There are basically no rules on the internet because it is an abyss that remains virtually lawless," she told the Post.

Newshub.

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