Real or Fake? Viral video claims pilot sent photos via AirDrop to Singapore Airlines jet at 35,000ft YouTube/LouB747

Deepfake videos have been increasingly getting better and have been raising concerns of disinformation campaigns stemming from such fake videos.

For the uninitiated, Deepfake is a technique which uses AI to synthesise an image which is very close to a real human. Using machine learning, a video or image can be superimposed upon another to create the impression of the involvement of a person in the content. It has been used in creating revenge porn and fake celebrity porn videos. Chances that it can be used in political campaigns for malafide purposes are ripe.

Deepfake videos have the potential to disseminate false information and cause chaos. This is why the State of California is now working to pre-empt this scenario. Two bills have been signed into law by State Governor Gavin Newsom to target deepfakes. One bill makes it illegal to post manipulated videos that could influence a candidate's campaign, while the other allows citizens to sue any person who puts their image on a pornographic video.

The use of Deepfake in porn, such as the use of the faces of famous actors, is what could be classified as a criminal invasion of privacy under the new law.

One such video was also made of the speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, in which she sounded drunk and slurring in her speech.

"Voters have a right to know when video, audio, and images that they are being shown, to try to influence their vote in an upcoming election, have been manipulated and do not represent reality. [That] makes deepfake technology a powerful and dangerous new tool in the arsenal of those who want to wage disinformation campaigns to confuse voters," California representative Marc Berman stated in a press release.

However, there is not just a need to give the subject of the video the power to sue the deepfaker, but further demarcation on social media for such videos. Every Deepfake video needs to be marked as such before it is massively disseminated.

Deepfake
Deepfake videos can make it appear that people are doing or saying fictional things in an effort to spread misinformation. Credit: AFP / Alexandra ROBINSON