The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the Centre for information on a report about an artificial intelligence bot that creates fake nude pictures of women, according to PTI.

The court cited a story by the Hindustan Times, which was based on a report by Netherlands-based cybersecurity firm Sensity. The report, released on Tuesday, said that as many as 1,04,852 women have been targeted by cybercriminals and “had their personal ‘stripped’ images shared publicly as of the end of July 2020.”

The Bombay High Court expressed concern about the report while hearing petitions against media trial in actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. The court asked Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh to get in touch with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. “If you can gather from ministry what the print media has reported...We want you to check malice in the report. Kindly check with the ministry,” a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni said.

The court also told Singh that the matter was “extremely serious” and adequate steps had to be taken. Singh assured the court that he had gone through the report and spoken to the officials concerned. He added that appropriate action would be taken under the Information Technology Act.

The report by Sensity has revealed that cybercriminals can target any person whose pictures are available online. When someone uploads a woman’s image, the bot gives back a version with clothing removed, according to Hindustan Times. The tool is free of cost but the user has to pay $1.5 (approximately Rs 110) to remove the watermark. The report said most of the users and women seemed to be from Russia.

Crimes related to fake nude pictures in India are tried under Sections 67A (publishing or transmitting sexually explicit material) and 66E (transmitting the image of a private area of any person without his or her consent ) of the Information Technology Act and Sections 499 (criminal defamation) and Section 354C (voyeurism) of the Indian Penal code, the newspaper reported, citing an analysis from 2018.