Deepfakes and elections

Two things stood out for me from our discussion on deep fakes and democracy on Wednesday:
Firstly, Gautham Koorma pointed out that detection of deep fakes becomes much difficult when they’re published on social media, because platforms transcode the content. With minor modifications, comparing hashes can become fruitless exercise. This means that on the whole, detecting deep fakes on social media is not possible with 100% accuracy, even if the deep fake is being compared with an existing dataset. Holding safe harbor to ransom is thus not the right approach.
Secondly, where’s the accountability for the perpetrators? Shivam Shankar Singh emphasised that even where cases were filed against politicians for disinformation by the election commission, and even though those were few and far between, they were eventually dropped or withdrawn. On social media, as is also true on the internet, especially with the usage of surrogates for disinformation, attributing accountability is tough. The way regulation is planning out now, it appears that there are going to be no penalties for misinformation, and indeed deep fakes: only for platforms for not taking them down. Of course another critical point that Shivam pointed out was that political parties flood the election commission with complaints, and it becomes very difficult for them to deal with them. There’s a clear capacity issue. Passing the buck to online platforms is easier… Because it’s not the ECs problem anymore.