Bipartisan trio asks US intelligence to investigate ‘deepfakes’

Bipartisan trio asks US intelligence to investigate ‘deepfakes’
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan trio of lawmakers pushing for U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate the national security impacts that “deepfakes” pose.

“Deepfakes” is a term used to describe falsely manipulated audio and video files.

In their letter, the House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffMcCarthy dismisses Dem-led Trump probes Mueller filings threaten Trump but fall short of case for impeachment Washington Post columnist predicts Trump will resign 10 minutes before Pence so Pence can pardon him MORE (D-Calif.), Rep. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyProblem Solvers Dems urge Pelosi to publicly back three rules changes Problem Solvers Dems: We 'cannot support' Pelosi for Speaker 'at this time' 14 House Dems vow to withhold Speaker votes over rule reforms MORE (D-Fla.) and Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloGOP lawmakers call for autopsy on 'historic losses' Bipartisan group of lawmakers propose landmark carbon tax GOP lawmaker: 'Disrespectful' for Trump to keep troops at border MORE (R-Fla.) said that they were “deeply concerned that deep fake technology could soon be deployed by malicious foreign actors.”

The three asked Director of National Intelligence, Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsDems slam Trump for siding with Saudi Arabia in Khashoggi killing Dem senator demands public intelligence assessment on Khashoggi killing Hillicon Valley: Official warns midterm influence could trigger sanctions | UK, Canada call on Zuckerberg to testify | Google exec resigns after harassment allegations | Gab CEO defends platform | T-Mobile, Sprint tailor merger pitch for Trump MORE, to examine the matter further.

“Given the significant implications of these technologies and their rapid advancement we believe that a thorough review by the Intelligence Community is appropriate, including an assessment of possible counter-measures and recommendations to Congress,” they wrote.

In their list of requests, they asked that Coats assess how foreign governments, intelligence or individuals could make use of the technology to the detriment of U.S. national security as well as describe any already known or suspected uses of it.

The three believe that deepfakes are the next frontier in foreign election meddling efforts, which caught American lawmakers off guard in 2016 as Russia used Facebook in an attempt to influence American politics.

Schiff, Murphy and Curbelo’s letter is only the latest flag lawmakers have raised on the matter.

In February, several lawmakers expressed concern about the potential harms such technology could bring both on a national security level, but also in people’s everyday lives.

“I’m much more worried about what could come next — could bad actors target kids with fake videos from people they trust?” Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — NRCC exposes security flaws 2 years after Russia hacks | Google Plus to shut down early | Scathing House report scolds Equifax for breach | McCarthy knocks Google ahead of CEO's hearing NRCC breach exposes gaps 2 years after Russia hacks Hillicon Valley: Huawei executive facing possible US fraud charges | Dem blames White House for failure of election security bill | FCC investigating wireless carriers over coverage data | Assange rejects deal to leave embassy MORE (D-Va.) questioned during an event in February addressing the dangers technology can pose for children.