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.

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In their letter, the House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' Trump: Nevada a 'great win' for Sanders Trump's Intel moves spark Democratic fury MORE (D-Calif.), Rep. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphySan Francisco mayor endorses Bloomberg Rep. Bobby Rush endorses Bloomberg's White House bid Sanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements MORE (D-Fla.) and Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloRepublicans can't exploit the left's climate extremism without a better idea Progressive Latino group launches first incumbent protection campaign The Memo: Bad polls for Trump shake GOP 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 CoatsTrump's Intel moves spark Democratic fury Russian interference reports rock Capitol Hill Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter split on Bloomberg video | Sanders briefed on Russian efforts to help campaign | Barr to meet with Republicans ahead of surveillance fight 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 WarnerTrump's Intel moves spark Democratic fury Where do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter split on Bloomberg video | Sanders briefed on Russian efforts to help campaign | Barr to meet with Republicans ahead of surveillance fight MORE (D-Va.) questioned during an event in February addressing the dangers technology can pose for children.