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U.S. House Passes New Bill to Help Combat ‘Deepfakes’

Lawmakers have passed legislation that would help the government fight realistic-looking fraudulent videos and photographs called “deepfakes” that could be used to sow discord and endanger national security.

(TNS) — The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on Monday by Ohio Republican Rep. Anthony Gonzalez that would help the government fight realistic-looking fraudulent videos and photographs called “deepfakes” that could be used for scams, to sow public discord and endanger national security.

Gonzalez noted technology employed in the movie “Forrest Gump," which patched actor Tom Hanks into archival footage so it appeared he was shaking hands with President John F. Kennedy and fighting in the Vietnam War, has become cheaper and easier to produce and disseminate. Experts he consulted have said that the techniques will eventually be so refined that deepfakes will be indistinguishable from real recordings, photos and videos.

The legislation he authored, which passed the house by a non-controversial voice vote, would instruct the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to back research to accelerate development of technologies to improve detection of faked content, and examine how humans interact with it.

“The ability to identify and label deep fake content is critical to preventing foreign actors or terrorist organizations from using manipulated media to influence U.S. public opinion,” said Gonzalez. The bill’s Senate counterpart is pending before its Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

The “deepfakes” bill is the third piece of legislation authored by the freshman Republican to pass the House of Representatives. Last month, it passed a measure allowin battlefield crosses at cemeteries operated by the Veterans Administration. In September, it passed a measure he authored that would promote use of artificial intelligence to fight money laundering by criminal organizations. The Senate hasn’t acted on either bill.

©2019 The Plain Dealer, Cleveland. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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