‘Deepfakes’ get dissected by Congress as 2020 looms large

High technology, especially here in the United States, is reaching terrifying new plateaus in 2019 – and this could have a major impact on the 2020 election if we aren’t careful.

Given what we know now about the Russian government’s attempts to interfere with our election in 2016, Americans have every right to be nervous.  There’s no telling what Putin and his Kremlin comrades will have up their sleeves for 2020, and the very freedom that we have fought and died to protect is at stake.

Far too often we see election cybersecurity in a one-dimensional way.  We think about Russian hackers toiling away in some far off bunker near the Arctic Circle, viciously attempting to gain access to our polling machines during an election.  This is the Hollywood-style idea of what Russian election hacking would like look.

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But this isn’t realistic, and the Russians know that.  Instead of actively looking to change votes on election night, the Russians are employing far more sinister strategies that convince Americans to vote one way or another.  This isn’t conspiracy theory, this is fact, and without the ability to recognize their efforts we could very well be doomed.

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One of the most frightening new tools in this arsenal are called Deepfakes; Computer generated videos that are nigh-indistinguishable from reality.

The technology to produce these Deepfakes is far too easy to come by these days, and produce startling results.

Could Russia be planning to create Deepfakes in order to sway the 2020 American election?  That is a concern that Congress is being forced to address.

Lawmakers and experts said Thursday that videos altered with artificial intelligence software pose a threat to national security and the 2020 U.S. election.

The technology uses facial mapping and artificial intelligence to produce videos — known as “deep fakes” — that appear genuine, and they “enable malicious actors to foment chaos, division or crisis,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

The videos “have the capacity to disrupt entire campaigns, including that for the presidency,” said Schiff, D-Calif.

This sort of disinformation has been at the heart of internet censorship crackdowns as of late, with Google/YouTube even going so far as to ban what they once considered “borderline” content – an overreach that many say sways users to more liberal political opinions.

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