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Virginia has become one of the first places to outlaw the sharing of computer-generated pornography known as deepfakes.

The US state has done so by amending an existing law which criminalised so-called revenge porn – the malicious sharing of explicit photos or videos without the victim’s consent.

It now makes clear that the category includes “falsely-created” material.

The move coincides with a report critical of the UK’s own laws.

The study, published by Durham University and Kent University, highlighted that artificial intelligence software had made it much easier to create deepfakes and at the same time the imagery was becoming more difficult to identity as having been manipulated.

“We must overhaul our out-of-date and piecemeal laws, including criminalising the paralysing and life-threatening impact of threats, and recognising the significant harms of fake porn,” said one of the authors, Prof Clare McGlynn.

The report said the lack of specific laws covering the issue in England, Wales and Northern Ireland meant the police were often only able to give an informal warning. However, it noted that the law in Scotland was better at covering cases involving altered imagery.