The Covington Controversy Shows We’re Not Prepared for ‘Deep Fake’ Technology

Townhall | 2/4/2019 | Staff
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Editor's note: This column was authored by Lindsay Marchello.

Remember the firestorm that surrounded the Covington controversy? People were convinced that a group of white Catholic teenagers harassed and mocked a Native American activist, but the truth turned out to be much more complex. Unfortunately, things are only bound to get worse. As the Covington Affair makes clear, our outrage culture isn’t ready for deep fake technology. But, it doesn’t matter—it’s almost here anyway.

Fakes - Images - Audio - People - Reality

Deep fakes are manipulated videos that can produce fake, hyper-realistic images and audio of people, that are almost impossible to tell apart from reality. It’s what film director Jordan Peele produced in a video of former President Barack Obama in which the former president is seen telling viewers that the villain in Marvel’s Black Panther was right and that President Trump is “a dipshit.” It’s not real, but it certainly looks it. In reality, it’s Peele doing an impression of Obama and manipulating the video to make his words come out of Obama’s mouth.

Still, deep fakes aren’t perfect. But technology can still fool people who aren’t paying close attention or don’t have much tech savvy.

Legality - Fakes - Electronic - Frontier - Foundation

The legality of deep fakes is murky. Electronic Frontier Foundation civil liberties director David Greene wrote that existing laws do protect individuals whose image is used in a deep fake, particularly in pornographic videos. But the technology to create these falsified videos is legal, and given enough time and effort just about anyone could create a deep fake and send it out into the digital sea.

The problem lies mainly in the people who aren’t interested in whether the video is real or not. What really matters to these folks is whether the video confirms a preconceived belief they hold, like that Trump is a racist. If it speaks to “their truth,”...
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I find it extremely funny when people keep voting and expecting the government to change!
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