Senators Introduce Amendment to Study Threat of Deepfakes and Manipulated Content

Editor’s Note: The Senate this week is debating the content of the fiscal year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual bill that authorizes programs and sets policy across the national security community. Among the more than 500 amendments proposed for floor consideration, a bipartisan amendment introduced by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Rep. Brian Schatz (D-HI), known as the Deepfake Report Act, would require the Department of Homeland Security to study technologies that underlie deepfakes, analyze the various types of digital content forgeries, investigate how foreign governments and their proxies are tapping into the technology to damage national security, examine the danger deepfakes present to individuals, and find methods to detect and mitigate such forgeries. 

An article in NextGov highlighted Rep. Portman’s concern for addressing civil liberties and privacy issues as they relate to countering deepfakes, and the role that artificial intelligence plays in increasing the effectiveness and perceived authenticity of manipulated media.

In the article, Matthew F. Ferraro, counsel at WilmerHale LLP who studies, speaks and advises clients on a range of cyber and national security topics, noted that it “first, requires a comprehensive report on the foreign weaponization of deepfakes, second, requires the government to notify Congress of foreign deepfake-disinformation activities targeting U.S. elections, and, third, establishes a ‘Deepfakes Prize’ competition to encourage the research or commercialization of deepfake-detection technologies.”

Read the full NextGov article here.

Review the original Deepfake Report Act here.