What Happens if Deepfake Videos Are Used as Evidence in Court?

Technology is useful in making life a lot easier for us. But it can also get the best of us right under our very nose. The introduction of Deepfake videos in 2017 is worrying and can have serious repercussions to our ways of delivering the truth via different media platforms. But more importantly, in our pursuit of verity and justice.

What Are Deepfake Videos?

In 2017, they were introduced in online platforms with celebrity faces were superimposed on porn videos. And from there, they sprouted out like mushrooms with the same intention of using A-listers’ faces in compromising situations. Then apps followed where women completely dressed become naked in a matter of seconds. And before we knew it, they were already used in mainstream media. Deepfakes are produced using a specific type of Artificial Intelligence or AI and a type of machine called deep learning. Through these processes, data are processed to mimic patterns, in both appearance and behavior. As the technologies of AI and deep learning becomes more available and “user friendly”, videos produced become more convincing and dangerous in the hands of less responsible individuals.

Consequences and Issues in Society and the Courts

Deepfake videos are produced with the intention of spreading malice and false information, causing public humiliation and misinformation for those involved. In a courtroom, the implications are even more dire as they misguide jury and judges from reality and verity of situations. Thus, the justice that is sought can just go out of the window with a click of the play button.

Efforts to Suppress Deepfakes Into Mainstream and Courts

Lawmakers, state governments and regulators must come up with laws to counter the proliferation of deepfakes. Digital evidences such as images and video footages are admissible in court under the silent witness theory. If deepfakes continue to be produced, the verifiability of images and videos become harder and uncertain; losing credibility. Thus, the court must rely again on eye-witness testimonies, which aren’t 100% accurate. In the meantime, states such as California, Texas, and Virginia are countering the proliferation of false videos through laws that try to control the spread in media platforms and for certain fields such as in politics. This is not enough.

Deepfake videos are a real threat to society and governance at different levels and varying degrees from personal to public misinformation. Aside from governing bodies, people must take responsibility and be accountable as they watch and share feeds via their phones, social media platforms and verify the truth. This could save innocent lives as well as let truth, peace and justice prevail.

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Dennis P. Sawan

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Christopher A. Sawan


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