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Congress seeks probe of deepfakes

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Three members of Congress today asked the nation’s spymaster to investigate the national security implications of computer-generated video and audio manipulations known as "deepfakes."

Why it matters: The lawmakers — two House Democrats and a Republican — echoed the warnings of experts who say deepfakes could become the next vector for poisonous propaganda and misinformation.

Deepfakes use artificial intelligence to generate video, audio, or images. They can show a person saying something they didn’t, or paste one person’s head onto another's body in a video. The Defense Department has invested in tools to detect deepfakes, a very difficult challenge.

The details: Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), and Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) sent their request to the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats. They asked Coats to examine whether deepfakes have been used against the U.S. by foreign governments or individuals.

What they’re saying: "Deep fakes have the potential to disrupt every facet of our society and trigger dangerous international and domestic consequences," Curbelo said in a statement.

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