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 SchiffGOP targets likely Dem committee chairmen in midterm push GOP Rep to top-ranking Dem who accused him of bigotry: 'Apologize to my children' The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Trump travels to hurricane-ravaged Florida, Georgia MORE (D-Calif.), Rep. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Cuomo wins and Manafort plea deal Hillicon Valley: North Korean IT firm hit with sanctions | Zuckerberg says Facebook better prepared for midterms | Big win for privacy advocates in Europe | Bezos launches B fund to help children, homeless Bipartisan trio asks US intelligence to investigate ‘deepfakes’ MORE (D-Fla.) and Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloDems see blue 'tsunami' in House as Senate path narrows GOP spokeswoman says Republicans will lose House seats in midterms Cook Political Report shifts 7 more races towards Dems 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 CoatsHillicon Valley: Intel chief wants tech, government to work more closely | Facebook doesn't believe foreign state behind hack | New net neutrality lawsuit | Reddit creates 'war room' to fight misinformation Hillicon Valley: Russia-linked hackers hit Eastern European companies | Twitter shares data on influence campaigns | Dems blast Trump over China interference claims | Saudi crisis tests Silicon Valley | Apple to let customers download their data Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Senators seek US intel on journalist's disappearance | Army discharged over 500 immigrant recruits in one year | Watchdog knocks admiral over handling of sexual harassment case 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 WarnerDems can use subpoena power to reclaim the mantle of populism Is there a difference between good and bad online election targeting? Collusion judgment looms for key Senate panel MORE (D-Va.) questioned during an event in February addressing the dangers technology can pose for children.