Fighting Deepfakes When Detection Fails

Fighting Deepfakes When Detection Fails. Brookings Institution. Alex Engler. November 14, 2019

Deepfakes intended to spread misinformation are already a threat to online discourse, and there is every reason to believe this problem will become more significant in the future. So far, most ongoing research and mitigation efforts have focused on automated deepfake detection, which will aid deepfake discovery for the next few years. However, worse than cybersecurity’s perpetual cat-and-mouse game, automated deepfake detection is likely to become impossible in the relatively near future, as the approaches that generate fake digital content improve considerably. In addition to supporting the near-term creation and responsible dissemination of deepfake detection technology, policymakers should invest in discovering and developing longer-term solutions. Policymakers should take actions that:

  • Support ongoing deepfake detection efforts with continued funding through DARPA’s MediFor program, as well as adding new grants to support collaboration between detection efforts and training journalists and fact-checkers to use these tools.
  • Create an additional stream of funding awards for the development of new tools, such as reverse video search or blockchain-based verification systems, that may better persist in the face of undetectable deepfakes.
  • Encourage the release of large social media datasets for social science researchers to study and explore solutions to viral misinformation and disinformation campaigns. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Securing Our 5G Future: The Competitive Challenge and Considerations for U.S. Policy

Securing Our 5G Future: The Competitive Challenge and Considerations for U.S. Policy. Center for a New American Security. Elsa B. Kania.  November 07, 2019

Today’s advances in fifth-generation telecommunications (5G) promise a transformational technology that is critical to enabling the next industrial revolution. 5G will provide massive benefits for future economic development and national competitiveness, including certain military applications. 5G is far more than simply a faster iteration of 4G. The benefits include its high speed, low latency, and high throughput, which enable data flows at vastly greater speed and volume than today’s 4G networks. Future smart cities will rely on 5G, autonomous vehicles will depend on this increased connectivity, future manufacturing will leverage 5G to enable improved automation, and even agriculture could benefit from these advances. The advent of 5G could contribute trillions to the world economy over the next couple of decades, setting the stage for new advances in productivity and innovation.

The United States risks losing a critical competitive advantage if it fails to capitalize upon the opportunity and manage the challenges of 5G. Today, China seems poised to become a global leader and first mover in 5G. The United States may be situated in a position of relative disadvantage. The U.S. government has yet to commit to any funding or national initiatives in 5G that are close to comparable in scope and scale to those of China, which is dedicating hundreds of billions to 5G development and deployment. There are also reasons for serious concern about the long-term viability and diversity of global supply chains in this industry. Huawei, a Chinese company with global ambitions, seems to be on course to become dominant in 5G, establishing new pilots and partnerships worldwide. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 37 pages].

The Emerging Risk of Virtual Societal Warfare: Social Manipulation in a Changing Information Environment

The Emerging Risk of Virtual Societal Warfare: Social Manipulation in a Changing Information Environment. RAND Corporation.  Michael J. Mazarr et al. October 9, 2019.

The evolution of advanced information environments is rapidly creating a new category of possible cyberaggression that involves efforts to manipulate or disrupt the information foundations of the effective functioning of economic and social systems. RAND researchers are calling this growing threat virtual societal warfare in an analysis of its characteristics and implications for the future.

To understand the risk of virtual societal warfare, the authors surveyed evidence in a range of categories to sketch out some initial contours of how these techniques might evolve in the future. They grounded the assessment in (1) detailed research on trends in the changing character of the information environment in the United States and other advanced democracies; (2) the insights of social science research on attitudes and beliefs; and (3) developments in relevant emerging technologies that bear on the practices of hostile social manipulation and its more elaborate and dangerous cousin, virtual societal warfare. The authors then provide three scenarios for how social manipulation could affect advanced societies over the next decade. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 215 pages].

Generation AI Establishing Global Standards for Children and AI

Generation AI Establishing Global Standards for Children and AI. World Economic Forum. September 11, 2019.

On 6-7 May 2019, the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its partners UNICEF and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) hosted a workshop in San Francisco on the joint “Generation AI” initiative. This workshop identified deliverables in two key areas: 1) public policy guidelines that direct countries on creating new laws focused on children and 2) a corporate governance charter that guides companies leveraging AI to design their products and services with children in mind. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 18 pages]. 

Hostile Social Manipulation: Present Realities and Emerging Trends

Hostile Social Manipulation: Present Realities and Emerging Trends. RAND Corporation.  Michael J. Mazarr et al. September 4, 2019.

The role of information warfare in global strategic competition has become much more apparent in recent years. Today’s practitioners of what this report’s authors term hostile social manipulation employ targeted social media campaigns, sophisticated forgeries, cyberbullying and harassment of individuals, distribution of rumors and conspiracy theories, and other tools and approaches to cause damage to the target state. These emerging tools and techniques represent a potentially significant threat to U.S. and allied national interests. This report represents an effort to better define and understand the challenge by focusing on the activities of the two leading authors of such techniques — Russia and China. The authors conduct a detailed assessment of available evidence of Russian and Chinese social manipulation efforts, the doctrines and strategies behind such efforts, and evidence of their potential effectiveness. RAND analysts reviewed English-, Russian-, and Chinese-language sources; examined national security strategies and policies and military doctrines; surveyed existing public-source evidence of Russian and Chinese activities; and assessed multiple categories of evidence of effectiveness of Russian activities in Europe, including public opinion data, evidence on the trends in support of political parties and movements sympathetic to Russia, and data from national defense policies. The authors find a growing commitment to tools of social manipulation by leading U.S. competitors. The findings in this report are sufficient to suggest that the U.S. government should take several immediate steps, including developing a more formal and concrete framework for understanding the issue and funding additional research to understand the scope of the challenge. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 302 pages].

Consumer Credit Reporting, Credit Bureaus, Credit Scoring, and Related Policy Issues

Consumer Credit Reporting, Credit Bureaus, Credit Scoring, and Related Policy Issues. Congressional Research Service.  Cheryl R. Cooper, Darryl E. Getter.  Updated July 26, 2019

The consumer data industry—generally referred to as credit reporting agencies or credit bureaus—collects and subsequently provides information to firms about the behavior of consumers when they participate in various financial transactions. Firms use consumer information to screen for consumer risks. For example, lenders rely upon credit reports and scores to determine the likelihood that prospective borrowers will repay their loans. Insured depository institutions (i.e., banks and credit unions) rely on consumer data service providers to determine whether to make available checking accounts or loans to individuals. Some insurance companies use consumer data to determine what insurance products to make available and to set policy premiums. Some payday lenders use data regarding the management of checking accounts and payment of telecommunications and utility bills to determine the likelihood of failure to repay small-dollar cash advances. Merchants rely on the consumer data industry to determine whether to approve payment by check or electronic payment card. Employers may use consumer data information to screen prospective employees to determine the likelihood of fraudulent behavior. In short, numerous firms rely upon consumer data to identify and evaluate potential risks a consumer may pose before entering into a financial relationship with that consumer.

[PDF format, 22 pages].