Deepfakes provide ‘perfect storm’ for hijackers in general election – Cleverly

Deepfakes generated by artificial intelligence (AI) provide the “perfect storm” for those looking to hijack the upcoming general election, the Home Secretary has warned.

James Cleverley said the era of these technologies misleading and disrupting important democratic decisions was “already in play”, The Times reported.

It comes as Mr Cleverly 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.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed a UK general election will take place at some point this year, although an exact date has not yet been set.

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

He said: “The era of deepfake and AI-generated content to mislead and disrupt is already in play.

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

“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.