Summary of How Deepfakes Undermine and Threaten Democracy

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Can you believe everything you see and hear? Not necessarily. Deepfake technology lets people make false but persuasive images, videos and voice recordings of others. As law professor Danielle Citron explains, these highly convincing digital counterfeits can erode the truth. And if you can’t trust your own eyes and ears, you may begin to lose faith in governments, institutions and other people.

About the Speaker

Law professor and civil rights advocate Danielle Citron is the author of Hate Crimes in Cyberpace and a vice president of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. 

 

Summary

As deepfake technology advances, the results look and sound increasingly convincing.

Rana Ayyub is an investigative journalist who reports on systemic corruption and human rights violations in India. In 2018, a sex tape that seemed to feature Ayyub was shared online and reposted more than 40,000 times. Ayyub was horrified; the video was a deepfake, but the footage looked convincing. Ayyub was subjected to deplorable online attacks. Strangers filled her email and social media accounts with threatening, vitriolic messages. Someone shared her address and phone number online, inviting more abuse. Ayyub received death threats and became afraid to leave her home.

With hindsight, Ayyub says she should have seen the deepfake video coming: “After all, sex is so often used to demean and to shame women, especially minority women, and especially minority women who dare to challenge powerful...


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