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Deepfakes provide ‘perfect storm’ for election manipulation James Cleverly warns

Deepfakes provide the “perfect storm” for those looking to disrupt the upcoming general election, James Cleverly has warned.

The Home Secretary said the age of technologies generated by artificial intelligence (AI) misleading and disrupting important democratic decisions was “already in play”.

In an interview with the Times he said: “The era of deepfake and AI-generated content to mislead and disrupt is already in play.”

It comes as he is reportedly due to meet with Silicon Valley bosses to urge greater action from large technology companies to protect democracy.

Earlier this month some of the companies signed a pact to voluntarily adopt “reasonable precautions” to prevent AI tools from being used to disrupt democratic elections around the world.

However, this pact did not commit to banning or removing deepfakes.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan fell victim to a fake AI recording of him supposedly making inflammatory remarks in the run up to Armistice Day protests last year.

The material shared on social media featured a simulation of Mr Khan’s voice saying he did not care “about the Remembrance weekend” and suggesting the commemorations be postponed to allow for a pro-Palestinian march to go ahead.

Last year Sir Keir Starmer was also subject to a malicious deepfake audio recording.

Mr Cleverly told The Times that “increasingly today the battle of ideas and policies takes place in the ever-changing and expanding digital sphere”.

“The landscape it is inserted into needs its rules, transparency and safeguards for its users,” he said.

“The questions asked about digital content and the sources of digital content are no less relevant than those asked about the content and sources at dispatch boxes, newsrooms or billboard ads.”

Mr Cleverly said “malign actors” and criminals would attempt to use generative AI to quickly produce thousands of illicit images or deepfakes, which could then be shared unpunished on encrypted services and with millions on social media within seconds.

With agencies

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