AI & Reputation Management: Report by Carter-Ruck and DRD Partnership

15 Sep 2023

“Brace, don’t panic”, say leading media lawyers Carter-Ruck and strategic communications firm DRD Partnership.

To read the full report, click here.

Businesses, organisations and individuals concerned about the potential for artificial intelligence to cause real harm to their reputations should take steps now to mitigate risks and manage any potential impacts, according to a new report out today.

Leading reputation law firm, Carter-Ruck, and top-ranked strategic communications practice, DRD Partnership, have today joined forces to set out the key steps legal and media relations teams can take to protect organisations from the downsides of AI when it comes to reputation management.

According to the report, the turning point in the debate has been the development and widescale deployment of Generative AI, leading to the use of AI to assimilate pre-existing information or input, used to create new or derivative content in the form of words, images and music.

This and other developments have prompted a slew of legal questions, and even claims, about who is responsible for these new machine content creators and the material that they create.

But today’s report, AI and Reputation Management, says:

“Even before sudden widening of interest in and deployment of AI this year, online news and information was capable of bearing much content which is untrue, and spreading at a pace that has caught many unawares.”

Carter-Ruck Partner, Persephone Bridgman Baker said today:

“English law has endured significant technological shifts in recent decades and has demonstrated its flexibility and resilience in dealing with new issues.

“While statutory changes can take some time to come to fruition, the courts are adept at using and developing long-standing principles to tackle new legal challenges. As witnessed in judgments on social media, data protection, intellectual property and digital offences, the courts have demonstrated that they have a toolkit – based upon strong foundational legal principles – through which they can remedy previously unheard-of legal dilemmas.”

DRD Partnership’s Jon McLeod, Partner, added: “Our message to clients is ‘don’t panic’, but do brace for change. Even before sudden widening of interest in and deployment of AI this year, online news and information has habitually carried content which is untrue, and spreading at a pace that has caught many unawares.”

Turning to the management of an AI-induced crisis, he added: “If the client has suffered reputational harm and AI has been a factor, then the immediate messaging for the response campaign should draw attention to this aspect, as it will drive positive carriage of the client’s response.

“Singling out the technology as occupying a potentially harmful and unresolved position in the law will sharpen the attention of judicial figures and policy-makers as new caselaw and statute take shape. Trusted and authoritative news sources should be prioritised.”

Carter-Ruck Senior Associate Helena Shipman said one solution might lie in ensuring full transparency about material that is created via AI:

“From a technological standpoint, companies responsible for generative AI are heralding this as a new era of AI output. A real and exciting proposition is that, if AI generated material can be identified as such, then a lot of the legal uncertainty disappears,” she commented.

“If AI generators can be made to take responsibility for their content, then fears that surround the proliferation of deepfakes, false statements and online fraud could be assuaged.”

The report sets out a checklist of steps clients can take now to safeguard their reputations and to mitigate the risks AI presents to them. According to the paper, clients should:

  • Understand how AI is used in company operations
  • Know how any contracted third parties are using AI
  • Review all commercial and employment contracts to ensure best AI practices are in place
  • Ensure all AI-created data is labelled as such
  • Train staff to use AI effectively and within company practices
  • Never input confidential or privileged data into AI platforms
  • If using AI, be sceptical of its output and always question the veracity of any source information or material
  • Not inadvertently become a publisher or disseminator of false and/or defamatory AI-generated information
  • Ensure that all AI-generated information is labelled as such and carries appropriate risk warnings, so that the end-recipient is kept fully informed.



To read the full report, click here.


Notes to Editors
  1. Artificial Intelligence and Reputation Management can be downloaded from the Carter-Ruck and DRD Partnership
  2. For further information please contact Persephone Bridgman Baker or Helena Shipman on 02073535005, or Jon McLeod on 07775530978.
  3. Carter-Ruck is one of the UK’s best-known law firms, with a global reputation. The firm is a leader in the fields of reputation management and media, international law and commercial dispute resolution.
  4. DRD is a strategic communications consultancy focused on building value for its clients and protecting their reputations at moments of challenge and change. Crisis communications, litigation support, public affairs and competition are the firm’s key specialisms.