If you’re not yet aware of DeepFakes – hyper-realistic manipulations of digital imagery that can alter images so effectively that it’s largely impossible to tell real from fake – time to pay attention. The technology – and the problem – is escalating quickly.
According to Futurism, A Spy Used a Deepfake Photo to Infiltrate LinkedIn Networks. “Many of Jones’ connections told the AP that they were initially suspicious of the profile but accepted anyway.” We personally never accept a LinkedIn invitation from anyone whom we don’t know or haven’t met. The platform is about connecting with people to build your network of contacts for professional or business purposes. Why would you accept an arbitrary invitation? Yet people have argued with us that the more connections you have, the better. No better time than now to disagree.
Hollywood is certainly paying attention to the DeepFakes, digital rights and specifically, who owns/controls an actor’s name, image and voice. As the Hollywood Reporter (Deepfakes Pose Increasing Legal and Ethical Issues for Hollywood) pointed out, “On June 19, New York wrapped up a historic legislative session. With Democrats now fully in power in the state, lawmakers passed some 300 bills…But one thing ended up on the sidelines without a vote — a massive overhaul of New York’s laws governing publicity and privacy rights. The proposed legislation would have, among other things, barred the unauthorized “use of a digital replica to create sexually explicit material in an expressive audiovisual work,” extended the protection of one’s likeness past death, and even created a registry whereby the heirs of famous people could document their official control over their dead relative’s name and image.”
As always, lawmakers tend to not pay attention until it’s too late, and even then, it tends to be too little too late.
Facebook was just fined a record $5B by the FTC over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. As The Verge reported, Facebook’s $5 billion FTC fine is an embarrassing joke Facebook gets away with it again. Facebook had a market value of $585B when the fine was announced, as CNBC reported, but that number has changed, since the stock rose, given that news.
As CNN reported, “(back in May,) Facebook announced it would spend millions to fund academic institutions studying image and video analysis. Some of that work involves tackling DeepFakes, the company said. Yet Facebook refused to remove an altered video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or even a DeepFake of Zuckerberg himself.”
Nor did Facebook clearly specified what their definition of tackling DeepFakes meant. As always, can we ever trust Facebook? And while politicians and actors/artists are showing concern about manipulation of their voices and images, let’s not forget who has been collecting the voices, images and data of a large part of the world’s population for years. And that all your base are belong to us (sic).
That would be the socials, including Facebook, Google and any other company with a connected device in your home (including Amazon), listening for that wake word, and these are private, currently unregulated companies. What to speak of the fact that Google admits workers listen to virtual assistant recordings – note that these are contractors outside of Google – and what are their obligations in respect to our privacy?
Given all of this and the focus being given to politicians, world leaders and celebrities, what rights do you think people outside of the public eye – meaning the majority of the world’s population and no attention is being paid here – have and what could be the possible dystopian end result? Throw online voting into the DeepFake mix, and there’s a big problem waiting to happen.
You know all of those spammy calls you’ve been getting on your cell phones of late? We warn you once again: don’t answer unknown numbers: they’re trying to capture your voice, and only need 20 seconds of recording to recreate any conversation, using your own dulcet tones.
This just in: Report: Viral ‘FaceApp’ Now Owns Rights to 150 Million Users’ Faces and Names. In perpetuity. Do not download it. Ever. We know that most people believe that privacy is gone and what’s the difference.
Welcome to ‘the difference.’
DeepFakes take privacy issues to a new level, and serious attention must be paid. This is well beyond pure data gathering. With the technology improving exponentially, the DeepFakes are becoming increasingly more difficult to detect, and may well lead us down an even darker hole. Make no mistake about it: this is the real thing. Onward and forward.