Top House Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) issued a warning on Thursday that deepfake videos could have a disastrous effect on the 2020 election cycle.“Now is the time for social media companies to put in place policies to protect users from this kind of misinformation not in 2021 after viral deepfakes have polluted the 2020 elections,” Schiff said.“By then it will be too late.”The warning came during a House Intelligence Committee hearing focused on analyzing the national and election security risks of the technology.The committee convened a panel of experts from universities and think tanks to prepare a deepfake strategy to guide new restrictions from both the government and platforms.At the outset of the hearing, Schiff came out challenging the “immunity” given to platforms under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, asking panelists if Congress should make changes to the law that doesn’t currently hold social media companies liable for the content on their platforms.
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The differing responses underscore the challenge that manipulated video, and misinformation more broadly, pose for the companies.On Thursday, the House Intelligence Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on manipulated media and "deepfakes," a technique that uses AI to create videos of people doing or saying something they didn't.The Pelosi video, a simpler form of edited video that some viewers thought was real, isn't considered a deepfake, but will likely be part of the discussion.The problem will likely get worse.Early deepfakes relied on hundreds or thousands of photographs of the person being faked to get convincing results.Samsung recently said it had developed a technique that allows relatively realistic fake videos to be created from a single image.
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Huawei is indefinitely delaying the announcement of a new Windows laptop, The Information reported Tuesday.The laptop was scheduled to be unveiled this week.Huawei is the world's second-largest phone manufacturer by volume, but it has struggled to make a dent in the US, partly because of concerns expressed by the government, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, the Federal Communications Commission and House Intelligence Committee.The core issue with Huawei has been concerns over its coziness with the Chinese government and fears that its equipment could be used to spy on other countries and companies.In May, President Donald Trump issued a national security order banning Huawei from the US.Google, Facebook and other US tech companies have since broken ties with the Chinese company.
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Silence might speak louder than words for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has criticized Facebook for not removing a video that was altered to make her seem drunk.On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called Pelosi to talk about how the company deals with misinformation but that she wasn't "eager" to hear his explanation and didn't call back.Their staff members have been in touch, though, according to the Post, which cited unnamed people familiar with the matter.Tensions between the California Democrat and the world's largest social network have escalated after Facebook decided to leave up the doctored Pelosi clip.Facebook doesn't label the video itself as manipulated, but on desktop computers it shows articles from fact-checkers alongside the clip, and it reduced the video's reach on NewsFeed.Twitter also left up the video.
Congress is looking to investigate deepfakes after the appearance of doctored videos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, says a Tuesday report from CNN.Deepfakes, video forgeries that make people appear to be doing or saying things they didn't, are the moving-picture equivalent of bogus images created with programs like Photoshop.Deepfake software has made manipulated videos accessible and increasingly harder to detect as fake.Speaking with CNN, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, reportedly said the Russian fake news campaign during the 2016 presidential election could escalate for the 2020 presidential race thanks to deepfakes."The most severe escalation might be the introduction of a deepfake -- a video of one of the candidates saying something they never said," Schiff said.Schiff called the Pelosi video a "cheap fake."
President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order as early as this week that could pave the way for banning US companies from using equipment from Chinese telecom giant Huawei, Reuters reported Tuesday.The order, which has been under consideration for more than a year, won't name specific companies or countries, the news agency reported, citing unidentified sources described as familiar with the plan.The order still could be delayed further, they say.The order is expected to invoke the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a federal law that authorizes the president to regulate commerce after declaring a national emergency in response to an extraordinary threat to the US.Huawei is the world's second-largest phone manufacturer by volume, but it has struggled to make a dent in the US, partly because of concerns expressed by the government, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, the Federal Communications Commission and House Intelligence Committee.The core issue with Huawei has been concerns over its coziness with the Chinese government and fears that its equipment could be used to spy on other countries and companies.
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The CIA has accused Huawei of funding from Chinese state security, The Times reported Saturday, adding to the list of security allegations dogging the embattled Chinese telecommunications giant.The CIA has warned intelligence officials that Huawei receives funding from China's National Security Commission, the People's Liberation Army and a third branch of the Chinese state intelligence network, a source in Britain told the newspaper.The US intelligence agency shared the information earlier this year with Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, the newspaper reported.Huawei is the world's second-largest phone manufacturer by volume, but it has struggled to make a dent in the US, partly because of concerns expressed by the government, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, the Federal Communications Commission and House Intelligence Committee.The core issue with Huawei has been concerns over its coziness with the Chinese government and fears that its equipment could be used to spy on other countries and companies.It's the reason why the US banned companies from using Huawei networking equipment in 2012.
Almost immediately after special counsel Robert Mueller's report on his investigation became public in a redacted version, several Democrats formally requested he testify before Congress about the inquiry."Even in its incomplete form, the Mueller report outlines disturbing evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice and other misconduct," Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement Thursday.Nadler sent a letter to Mueller, requesting he testify before his committee by May 23.Separately, Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, sent Mueller a letter asking that he appear before Schiff's committee sometime next month.Without sending a formal letter, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said on Twitter that Mueller should testify before Congress.US Attorney General William Barr said Thursday during a press conference, "I have no objection to Robert Mueller personally testifying."
Outside of Washington, it was a week where New Zealand managed to do what the United States has not and moved to ban assault weapons just days after a mass shooting.It was also a week where Disney finalized its purchase of huge chunks of 21st Century Fox, bringing the first of potentially many layoffs.(They finally got their answer late Friday.)He also worked with the White House to exonerate the White House while withholding information from Democratic lawmakers.What Happened: The ultimate Friday evening news dump: Special Counsel Robert Mueller sent his report to Attorney General William Barr.OK, that tweet doesn't make the report sound like much of a big deal at all.
This is a company which is taking the punishment for the nefarious activities of the Chinese government.But the condemnation should be directed towards the Chinese government and these individuals, not necessarily Huawei.It most judicial systems, reasonable doubt is tied into circumstantial evidence meaning it can contribute to a verdict, but alone it is rarely enough to assign guilt.As far as we are aware, nothing of note.This report, which was the result of a yearlong investigation by the committee, came to the conclusion Huawei and ZTE were a national security threat because of their attempts to extract sensitive information from American companies and their loyalties to the Chinese government.For most, the sustained rhetoric of espionage could be viewed as politically and economically motivated.
It’s the first time we’ve seen members of Congress give social media companies any kind of grilling over their security issues.While fake news scandals have dominated all year, and the major catalyst is Cambridge Analytica, Congressional scrutiny began some time ago.Specifically, in late 2017, Congress called executives from Google, Twitter, and Facebook to explain — twice — how Russian agents managed to proliferate throughout their networks.The months in the year could basically be broken down into answer to the question, “What the heck did Facebook do now?” And in March, the answer was, “It allowed a data analysis firm to harvest data about millions of users under the guise of a research app, which was never anonymized and was subsequently used to build voter profiles.” Facebook eventually confessed Cambridge Analytica had gathered data on over 87 million people, without the consent of the vast majority.And worse, it later came to light that Facebook had known about the data collection since 2015, but had simply asked Cambridge Analytica to delete the data.This is probably the moment it really hit everyone just how much data social media networks in general, and Facebook very much in particular, had on the average user, and how it could be used for ill.
President Donald Trump’s administration certainly has been a different shade of politics for the Oval Office, though actions and alleged prejudice could come back to haunt the Commander in Chief.Despite being proclaimed a resounding victory for the Republicans, the mid-term elections could have gone a hell of a lot better.With the House of Representatives swinging back into the hands of the Democrats, not only will Trump find passing his questionable legislation more difficult, but his actions over the first two years of the Presidency could be called into question.In an interview with Axios, California Congressman Adam Schiff, who is also the Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, suggested an investigation into the President would now be able to make a material impact because of the swing of power across the aisle.While the President’s actions have constantly been condemned by critics and political opponents, there has been little opportunity to do anything considering Trump’s political foundations.While the deal has been greenlight by District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Richard Leon, the Department of Justice is appealing the decision, suggesting Judge Leon is ignorant to the facts and the economic implications of the deal.
House Democrats plan to investigate the Trump administration's attempt to block AT's acquisition of Time Warner and whether the White House sought to punish Amazon by pressing the US Postal Service to increase shipping rates for the internet retailer, a senior Democratic congressman said Sunday.Rep. Adam Schiff, poised to be the next chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told Axios the Democrats will investigate whether President Donald Trump used "the instruments of state power to punish the press.""It is very squarely within our responsibility to find out," he said in the interview, which will air Sunday evening on HBO.Since gaining control of the House of Representatives in last week's midterm elections, Democrats have vowed to launch or continue probes into the president's businesses and potential conflicts of interest.Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post, while AT owns CNN.Both news outlets have featured coverage critical of the president.
Members of Congress sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats today asking for a report from intelligence agencies about the potential impact of deepfakes to democracy and national security.The letter was signed by Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Rep. Carlos Curbelo (D-FL), and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which works with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, NSA, and CIA.“By blurring the line between fact and fiction, deepfake technology could undermine public trust in recorded images and videos as objective depictions of reality,” the three members of Congress said in the letter.“As deepfake technology comes more advanced and more accessible, it could pose a threat to United States public discourse and national security, with broad and concerning implications for offensive active measures campaigns targeting the United States.”Deepfakes are videos made using general adversarial networks or GANs to do things like place the face of one person onto another person’s body.Forged videos, images, or audio could be used to target individuals for blackmail or for other nefarious purposes, the letter said.
In fact, says California Rep. Adam Schiff, it likely won't.Foreign governments are "never going to stop trying to influence us.That's why Schiff and other lawmakers have begun pressing tech companies to devote more resources -- time, money, people -- to solving these issues."But it's gonna require a lot more attention and resources and focus."By resources, he means people.But you do get the sense that what we're seeing is still merely the tip of the iceberg, that it will take a much more concerted and resourced effort to really ferret out most of this effort and foreign malevolent influence.
Facebook COO Sherly Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey appeared before Congress on Wednesday, September 5, offering testimony on the state of social media.Alphabet CEO Larry Page and Google CEO Sundar Pichai were also invited but declined to attend, opting instead to send written testimony t0 address issues like Russian meddling in U.S. elections and bias.The Senate Intelligence Committee hosted the morning session, focusing on efforts being made to keep elections safe.The very worst examples of this are absolutely chilling and a threat to our democracy,” Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) said.“We were too slow to spot this and too slow to act,” Sandberg said.“This interference was completely unacceptable.
The left says tech companies have created virtual safe spaces for hate speech and harassment.It isn't just political tub-thumpers that are railing against tech.The intelligence community says websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google's YouTube have become launchpads of choice for Russian election interference.Already, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by senators and representatives in April after his social network was embroiled in a data privacy scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica, a consultancy.Next week, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and an as yet unnamed executive from Google will make the trip to DC to testify before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee and House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee on interference in our elections, though they're likely to discuss censorship and data privacy as well.In early August, Apple, Facebook, YouTube and others simultaneously shut down accounts owned by Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist behind the Infowars website.
The company surpassed Apple to become the world’s second largest smartphone manufacturer, but it’s still considered a security threat by multiple countries, without many carrier deals and bans in the U.S.To make matters worse, the numerous claims made against the company remain unsubstantiated.If Huawei specifically, and Chinese security threats generally, is the new “red peril,” why isn’t the U.S. acting more strongly?Try Not To Faint When You See Who She IsThe U.S. government recently tore ZTE apart, and then confusingly gave the all-clear.It’s common enough knowledge that Huawei was founded by Ren Zhengfei, a former engineer in the People’s Liberation Army.
Earlier this week, the Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released roughly 3,500 Facebook and Instagram ads purchased by the Internet Research Agency, a notorious Russian troll farm.Among them: Ads purchased in May of 2016 that promoted a suspicious Chrome extension that gained wide access to the Facebook accounts and web browsing behavior of those who installed it.Other ads for FaceMusic targeted interest categories like Shazam, Spotify, Apple Music, or Soundcloud.The ads containing the extension, purchased by the IRA's phony anti-immigrant Facebook page Stop All Invaders, were discovered by Jonathan Albright, director of research at Columbia University's Tow Center for Digital Journalism."Why would an anti-immigrant Russian Facebook Page be spending money to promote a music app?"The landing site that the ad directed to, musicfb.info, is no longer active, but an archived version advertises a “unique browser extension, which allows you to play your favorite music on Facebook for free and share it with your friends.”
On Thursday, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released a massive new trove of Russian government-funded Facebook political ads targeted at American voters.While we’d seen a cross section of the ads before through prior releases from the committee, the breadth of ideological manipulation is on full display across the more than 3,500 newly released ads — and that doesn’t even count still unreleased unpaid content that shared the same divisive aims.After viewing the ads, which stretch from 2015 to late 2017, some clear trends emerged.From the fairly large sample of ads that we reviewed, black Americans were clearly of particular interest, likely in an effort to escalate latent racial tensions.One ad posted by “Black Matters” was targeted at Ferguson, Missouri residents in June 2015 and only featured the lyrics to Tupac’s “California Love.” Around this time, many ads targeted black Facebook users in Baltimore and the St. Louis area.The less controversial or call-to-action style posts were likely designed to buffer the politically divisive content, helping to build out and grow an account over time.
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