- Reuploaded replicas of the app DeepNude have been popping up on social media platforms including Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit.
- The app, which removed clothing from pictures of women to make them look naked, had previously been removed by its creator after an article published by Vice’s technology publication Motherboard created backlash.
- Discord and GitHub have since banned replica versions of the app after it was spread on their sites.
- Over the last week, dozens of women in Singapore have had pictures from their social media accounts doctored and put on porn websites. Those pictures are believed to have been made with a version of the DeepNude App.
DeepNude App Explained
The open source software platform GitHub has banned all code from the controversial deepfake app known as DeepNude, a desktop application that removes clothing from pictures of women and generates a new photo of them appearing naked.
The app was originally released last month, but it did not receive notoriety until Vice’s tech publication Motherboard broke the story several days after it launched. The day after Motherboard’s exposé, the DeepNude creators announced they were pulling the app.
“The probability that people will misuse it is too high,” the creators said in a statement on Twitter. “Surely some copies of DeepNude will be shared on the web, but we don’t want to be the ones who sell it.”
“The world is not yet ready for DeepNude,” the statement concluded.
GritHub Bans DeepNude Replicas
Apparently, the world thought otherwise, because copies of the DeepNude app were shared and still are being shared all over the internet.
The program was an app that was meant to be downloaded for use offline, and as a result, it could be easily replicated by anyone who had it on their hard drive.
That is exactly what happened. People who replicated the software reuploaded it on various social media platforms, like GitHub, which banned the app for violating its community guidelines.
“We do not proactively monitor user-generated content, but we do actively investigate abuse reports,” a GitHub spokesperson told Motherboard. “In this case, we disabled the project because we found it to be in violation of our acceptable use policy. We do not condone using GitHub for posting sexually obscene content and prohibit such conduct in our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines.”
According to The Verge, the DeepNude team itself actually uploaded the core algorithm of the app to GitHub.
“The reverse engineering of the app was already on GitHub. It no longer makes sense to hide the source code,” The Verge said the team wrote on a now-deleted page. “DeepNude uses an interesting method to solve a typical AI problem, so it could be useful for researchers and developers working in other fields such as fashion, cinema, and visual effects.”
However, Rogue Rocket was still able to find at least one GitHub repository that claimed to have DeepNude software for Android.
“Deep nudes for android. this is the age of FREEDOM, NOT CENSORSHIP! hackers rule the future!” the page’s description said.
GitHub was not the only platform that the replicated app was shared on.
Even with just a cursory search on Twitter, Rogue Rocket was able to locate two Twitter accounts that provided links to replicated versions of the app. One of the accounts links to a website called Deep Nude Pro, which bills itself as “the official update to the original DeepNude,” and sells the app for $39.99.
The other account links to a DeepNude Patreon where people can either download the app or send the account holder pictures they want to generate and then buy.
When Rogue Rocket searched YouTube, there appeared to be multiple videos explaining how to download new versions of the app, many of which had links to download the app in the description.
Others have also shared links on Reddit, and The Verge reported that links to downloads were being shared on Telegram channels and message boards like 4chan.
To make matters even worse, a lot of the replicated software includes versions that claim they removed the watermarks included in the original app, which were used to denote that the generated pictures were fake.
While it has been reported that a lot of the links to the reuploaded software are malware, download links to the new versions are still incredibly easy to find.
GitHub is also not the only platform to ban the app. According to Motherboard, last week Discord banned a server that was selling what was described as an updated version of the app, where customers could pay $20 in Bitcoin or Amazon gift cards to get “lifetime access.”
The server and its users were removed for violating Discord’s community guidelines.
“The sharing of non-consensual pornography is explicitly prohibited in our terms of service and community guidelines,” a spokesperson for Discord told Motherboard in a statement.
“We will investigate and take immediate action against any reported terms of service violation by a server or user. Non-consensual pornography warrants an instant shut down on the servers and ban of the users whenever we identify it, which is the action we took in this case.”
DeepNude App Used in Singapore
The rapid diffusion of the app on numerous social media platforms has now become an international problem.
On Wednesday, The Straits Times reported that over the past week “dozens of women in Singapore” have had pictures of them taken from their social media accounts and doctored to look like they are naked, then uploaded to pornographic sites.
Those photos are believed to have been doctored using a version of the DeepNude app, which have been shared via download links on a popular sex forum in Singapore.
Lawyers who spoke to The Straits Times told them that doctoring photos to make people look naked is considered a criminal offense in Singapore.
Even though the artificial intelligence aspect is new, one lawyer said that the broad definitions under the law could allow people to be prosecuted for doing so.
Another lawyer backed that up, saying that under Singapore’s Films Act, people who make DeepNude pictures can be jailed for up to two years and fined up to $40,000. They can also be charged with insult of modesty and face a separate fine and jail term of up to a year.
Legal Efforts in the U.S.
The legal precedent in Singapore raises questions about laws that regulate deepfakes in the United States. While these efforts appear stalled on the federal level, several states have taken actions to address the issue.
On July 1, a new amendment to Virginia’s law against revenge porn, that includes deepfakes as nonconsensual pornography, went into effect. Under that amendment, anyone caught spreading deepfakes could face 12 months in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.
The idea of amending existing revenge porn laws to include deepfakes could be promising if it is effective. According to The New York Times, as of early this year, 41 states have banned revenge porn.
At the same time, lawmakers in New York state have also proposed a bill that would ban the creation of “digital replicas” of individuals without their consent.
However, the Motion Picture Association of America has opposed the bill, arguing that it would “restrict the ability of our members to tell stories about and inspired by real people and events,” which would violate the First Amendment.
The opposition to the law in New York indicates that even as states take the lead with deepfake regulation, there are still many legal hurdles to overcome.
See what others are saying: (VICE) (The Verge) (The Strait Times)
Walmart Ends E-Cigarette Sales
- Walmart announced its plans to stop selling e-cigarettes on Friday.
- The company said it made its decision in light of the “uncertainty” regarding the products on local and federal levels.
- Federal health officials have growing concerns about the products and have potentially linked over 500 illnesses and eight deaths to them.
Walmart Ends E-Cigarette Sales
Walmart plans to end its sale of e-cigarettes due to ongoing concerns about the products.
“Given the growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity and uncertainty regarding e-cigarettes, we plan to discontinue the sale of electronic nicotine delivery products at all Walmart and Sam’s Club U.S. locations,” the company said Friday in a confirmed internal memo obtained by CNBC.
National Concerns About E-Cigarettes
This decision comes as both New York and Michigan have banned the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. President Donald Trump has also suggested his interest in banning flavored products.
Recently, federal health officials have become increasingly concerned about their potential link to serious illnesses. They investigating 530 cases of people who have contracted vaping related illnesses. Eight people have died from diseases believed to be related to vaping since August.
This is not the first decision of this sort the company has made this year. Back in May, Walmart said it would raise its minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21 to prevent possible sales to minors.
See what others are saying: (CNBC) (Fox Business) (Engadget)
School Shooting-Themed Hoodies Slammed by Gun Violence Victims
- A fashion brand faced criticism for designing hoodies that featured bullet holes along with the names of schools that were sites of some of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.
- Bstroy, a streetwear line known for rebellious designs, said it wanted to make a bold statement about gun violence “while also empowering the survivors of tragedy through storytelling in the clothes.”
- While the hoodies were just created for their New York fashion show, the designers are now considering selling the sweatshirts despite widespread outrage from victims.
School Shooting Sweatshirts
A fashion brand known as Bstroy sparked outrage on social media after designing school shooting-themed hoodies for a show during New York Fashion Week.
The brand’s latest collection, designed by Brick Owens and Duey Catorze, featured distressed hoodies with the names of schools that were all impacted by gun violence and even included bullet hole details throughout each piece.
The schools included in the show were Stoneman Douglas, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, and Columbine, all sites of some of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.
Backlash From Victims
Photos from the runway posted to Instagram over the weekend were quickly met with a wave of backlash from commenters who identified themselves as shooting survivors and friends or relatives of gun violence victims.
A spokesperson for the Vicky Soto Memorial Fund, which was created after teacher Victoria Soto was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, took to Twitter to call the designs “absolutely horrific.”
“A company is [making] light of our pain and other’s pain for fashion,” she continued. “Selling sweatshirts with our name and bullet holes. Unbelievable.”
Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jamie died during the Stoneman Douglas shooting also tweeted, “This has me so upset. If any of my followers no anybody involved with this clothing line, please ask them to stop it immediately.”
Shawn Sherlock, the aunt of another Stoneman Douglas victim named Gina Rose Montalto, said the company “should be ashamed of taking advantage of [her niece’s] death to make money.”
More About Bstroy
Bstroy, which describes itself as a “Neo-Native Menswear Design House,” was featured in a New York Times piece published last week about the next generation of high-end streetwear. The Times specifically pointed to the brand’s rebellious takes on classic designs.
They’re probably most well known for their double-edge jeans, which essentially look like two pairs of jeans stitched together at the ankle holes, as well as their Nike shoes dipped in concrete.
According to the paper, the brand has also designed “graphic T-shirts that nod to preppy interests like tennis and fencing, but with the sports gear replaced by guns.”
“We are making violent statements,” one designer told The Times. “That’s for you to know who we are, so we can have a voice in the market. But eventually that voice will say things that everyone can wear.”
Late Tuesday, Owens posted a handout from the show on Instagram that read: “Sometimes life can be painfully ironic. Like the irony of dying violently in a place you considered to be a safe, controlled environment, like school. We are reminded all the time of life’s fragility, shortness, and unpredictability yet we are also reminded of its infinite potential.”
In an email sent to the Today show, Owens explained that he and Catorze were trying to make a bold statement. “We wanted to make a comment on gun violence and the type of gun violence that needs preventative attention and what its origins are, while also empowering the survivors of tragedy through storytelling in the clothes,” the designer wrote.
“Also built into the device is the fact that our image as young, black males has not been traditionally awarded credit for introducing avant-garde ideas. So many people have assumed our message to be lazy just because of what they’ve been taught about black men. These hoodies were made with all of these intentions in mind, and to explore all of these societal issues. Not just the surface layer of gun violence in schools but also the different ways that we relate to each other and the dated ideas that still shape the assumptions we make about each other,” he wrote.
The designers also spoke to The Cut about the response to the collection and said, “People get the opportunity to form their opinions before they get all the information and here we see the internal desire of society rear its head.”
“People seem to want to release hateful energy as a default,” they added.
The designers then explained that they are now considering whether or not to put the hoodies up for sale, saying: “The hoodies have only been shown not sold and the school shooting hoodies were initially intended to be just for the show and not to sell but that may change now.”
The backlash surrounding the designs comes just as the nonprofit organization Sandy Hook Promise released an intense video about gun violence in schools.
Nearly 50,000 Workers Strike Against General Motors
- GM Employees are striking for the second day after contract negotiations between their union and company did not meet their demands.
- GM did give an offer after negotiations, but it was not satisfactory to the nearly 50,000 employees, who are asking for higher wages, better healthcare, a share of profits, job security, and more.
- Many of the employees say they will commit to the strike until the company meets their requirements, however, others are concerned about living off the estimated $250 of weekly assistance pay while the strike carries on.
As General Motors and the United Automobile Workers union resume negotiations, GM employees are entering their second day of nationwide strikes.
Fair wages, affordable healthcare, fairer profit shares, job security, and a path to permanent employment for temps are all on the list of demands for the close to 50,000 GM workers striking throughout nine states today. This is the first strike in the U.S. auto industry since 2007, which was also led by GM workers. Striking began Sunday at midnight after a weekend of failed negotiations between GM and UAW.
Their 2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement expired Saturday night, but the UAW declined to extend it. After negotiations ended, the UAW’s Vice President, Terry Dittes released a statement standing by his commitment to worker’s needs.
“While we are fighting for better wages, affordable quality health care, and job security, GM refuses to put hard-working Americans ahead of their record profits of $35 billion in North America over the last three years,” he said. “We are united in our efforts to get an agreement our members and their families deserve.”
GM extended an offer to its employees that included over $7 billion in investments and 5,400 jobs. The deal also included wage or lump sum increases for every year of the four-year contract, an improved profit-sharing formula, and additional forms of health benefits.
Employees rejected that offer and went forward with their strike after this proposal, forcing GM to resume negotiations with UAW on Monday.
“Our goal remains to reach an agreement that builds a stronger future for our employees and our business,” GM said in a statement announcing the continued talks.
Potential Consequences of Strike
The strike does not come without potential consequences, not just for GM, but for the employees as well. Reports say GM could lose up to $90 million a day during the strike, but employees also stand to lose a lot.
According to a Fox Business report, GM employees will have to wait 15 days to receive their assistance pay, which comes out to $250 a week. This barely covers rent in Detroit, a city that hosts many employees of the company.
One Detroit-area employee, Patricia Brown, told the outlet that one of her main fears is “that we might be here for a while… and we can’t make it on $250 a week. You know, GM might not want to budge. So I’m just here trying to prove a point, that’s it.”
Still, some see the risk to be worth the reward. Ray Carter-Wilson, a single father also striking in the Detroit area told CNN he is comfortable striking for a long time as long as it all works out.
“I understand the difficulty of the negotiations and the importance of them,” he said. “This being a lengthy strike, I’m fine with it as long as everything gets ironed out and is fair for everyone.”
Politicians Support Strike
Strikers also have support from prominent public officials. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) said she was “inspired” by the workers.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) also pointed out the wage inequality at the company while adding that he stood with the strike.