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U.S. Government Should Reject Deepfakes in Foreign Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. government should abandon its efforts to use A.I.-generated deepfakes for foreign influence operations and lead global efforts to regulate and prevent the abuse of A.I. for such purposes, Public Citizen said in a letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

President Joe Biden has repeatedly underscored the need to align artificial intelligence with democratic values. But contrary to that approach, the Pentagon is seeking a contractor to “provide a next generation of ‘deep fake’ or other similar technology to generate messages and influence operations via non-traditional channels in relevant peer/near peer environments.”

“Deepfakes can sow enormous distrust and confusion on the battlefield and in society in general,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen and author of the letter. “The world desperately needs binding agreements and new norms that forbid governments and others from weaponizing deepfake technology. It is inherently antithetical to democratic functioning.”

Public Citizen is urging Austin and Blinken to abandon any government programs to develop the capacity to use deepfakes for any kind of foreign influence; publicly commit that the U.S. will not use deepfakes against adversaries or allies in military or civilian contexts; and immediately begin an effort to reach global agreement among governments not to use deepfake technology and, ideally, ban its use for deceptive purposes.