Man created ‘deepfake’ porn of former classmates using their old photos, US prosecutor says


An investigation revealed Carey posted the ‘deepfake’ images – which show the victims’ faces on the bodies of other women engaged in sex acts – by using three different usernames from August 2019 until September 2021, the release said. — Dreamstime/TNS

A man created “deepfake” pornography using old social media photos of over a dozen women while they were in middle school and high school, a US prosecutor said.

Patrick Carey, 22, of Seaford in Long Island, New York, posted the explicit images involving the women’s faces to a pornographic website, according to the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office in New York.

In sharing the photos, he encouraged strangers to “harass and threaten them with sexual violence” while sharing the women’s phone numbers and where they lived, officials said.

Many women were Carey’s former school classmates, WABC-TV reported.

A judge sentenced Carey to six months in prison and 10 years probation with sex offender conditions on April 18, District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced in a news release. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender.

“Carey targeted these women, altering images he took from their social media accounts and the accounts of their family members and manipulating them using ‘deepfake’ technology,” Donnelly said in a statement.

“These incredibly brave women pieced together his depraved conduct and brought it to the authorities,” Donnelly added. “They were not afraid, and they were undeterred.”

Carey previously pleaded guilty to several charges, including promotion of a sexual performance by a child, second-degree aggravated harassment as a hate crime, second-degree stalking and endangering the welfare of a child in December, the release said.

Family members of the victims were not satisfied with Carey’s sentencing, according to WABC-TV.

“He didn’t get what he deserved,” one family member told the outlet.

In New York state, there are no laws regarding those who create sexually explicit “deepfakes,” according to Donnelly.

Because of this, Donnelly proposed the “Digital Manipulation Protection Act” that aims to prosecute “sexual predators and child pornographers” who make these images, she said.

Some women say their photos were ‘screenshotted’ from social media

The women targeted by Carey went to MacArthur High School in Levittown, according to the district attorney’s office.

Some of them said they learned Carey “screenshotted” their social media photos after getting notifications from the unspecified platforms, according to the release.

An investigation revealed Carey posted the “deepfake” images – which show the victims’ faces on the bodies of other women engaged in sex acts – by using three different usernames from August 2019 until September 2021, the release said.

Carey was arrested in September 2021 and found with multiple photos of the victims after a search of his phone, tables, social media and online accounts, according to the district attorney’s office.

In court, Carey apologised for his actions, News 12 Long Island reported.

His potential motive in targeting his former classmates wasn’t specified by Donnelly in the release.

“Deepfake” technology “can be used to make people believe something is real when it is not,” Peter Singer, a cybersecurity and defense-focused strategist and senior fellow at New America think tank, told CNBC in an October 2019 interview. – The Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service

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