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 SchiffDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' Trump commutes Roger Stone's sentence Supreme Court rulings reignite Trump oversight wars in Congress MORE (D-Calif.), Rep. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyModerate House Democrats introduce bill aimed at stopping China from exploiting coronavirus pandemic Encouraging a safe business environment can help drive America's recovery The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former Rep. Delaney says Trump is spewing venom when he should be leading; Protests roil the nation as fears of new virus outbreaks grow MORE (D-Fla.) and Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloThe Memo: GOP cringes at new Trump race controversy Trump, GOP go all-in on anti-China strategy Republicans can't exploit the left's climate extremism without a better idea 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 CoatsAmerica's divide widens: Ignore it no longer Trump gives Grenell his Cabinet chair after he steps down German lawmaker, US ambassador to Germany trade jabs 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 WarnerGOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over 'bullying' Senators press IRS chief on stimulus check pitfalls Hillicon Valley: Facebook takes down 'boogaloo' network after pressure | Election security measure pulled from Senate bill | FCC officially designating Huawei, ZTE as threats MORE (D-Va.) questioned during an event in February addressing the dangers technology can pose for children.