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September 4 Tuesday

Deep Fakes: A Looming Challenge for Privacy, Democracy, and National Security with Bobby Chesney and Danielle Citron

  • Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 12:00PM - 1:30PM
  • Room 122
  • Open To The YLS Community Only
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Harmful lies are nothing new. But the ability to distort reality has taken an exponential leap forward with “deep fake” technology. This capability makes it possible to create audio and video of real people saying and doing things they never said or did. Machine learning techniques are escalating the technology’s sophistication, making deep fakes ever more realistic and increasingly resistant to detection. Deep-fake technology has characteristics that enable rapid and widespread diffusion, putting it into the hands of both sophisticated and unsophisticated actors.

While deep-fake technology will bring with it certain benefits, it also will introduce many harms. The marketplace of ideas already suffers from truth decay as our networked information environment interacts in toxic ways with our cognitive biases. Deep fakes will exacerbate this problem significantly. Individuals and businesses will face novel forms of exploitation, intimidation, and personal sabotage. The risks to our democracy and to national security are profound as well.

Our aim is to provide the first in-depth assessment of the causes and consequences of this disruptive technological change, and to explore the existing and potential tools for responding to it. We survey a broad array of responses, including: the role of technological solutions; criminal penalties, civil liability, and regulatory action; military and covert-action responses; economic sanctions; and market developments. We cover the waterfront from immunities to immutable authentication trails, offering recommendations to improve law and policy and anticipating the pitfalls embedded in various solutions.

Paper available at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3213954

Bobby Chesney is the James Baker Chair at the University of Texas School of Law, where he also serves as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.  Separately, he serves UT as Director of its campus-wide Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law.  The Strauss Center is an interdisciplinary unit designed to bring different parts of the university together to further education and policy-relevant research relating to pressing national security and foreign affairs challenges. One of its key current projects is the Integrated Cybersecurity Studies program, which promotes transdisciplinary cross-training for graduate students interested in cybersecurity.  Under that heading, he has developed and teaches a pioneering course integrating the legal and policy aspects of the subject. Professor Chesney’s other teaching and scholarship cover an array of national security topics. Currently he is completing the manuscript of Terrorism, Law, and the Coercive Power of the State, forthcoming with Oxford University Press. 

Professor Chesney previously served as a member of the Director of National Intelligence’s Advance Technology Board and as an associate member of the DNI’s Intelligence Science Board, as well as a member of the President’s Detention Policy Task Force. He is one of the three co-founders of Lawfare, and writes there each week.  He also co-hosts the National Security Law Podcast. Professor Chesney can be reached at rchesney@law.utexas.edu and is on Twitter as @bobbychesney.

Danielle Keats Citron is the Morton & Sophia Macht Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law where she teaches and writes about information privacy, free expression, and civil rights. She was a recipient of the 2018 UMB Champion of Excellence Award and the 2005 “Teacher of the Year” award.

Professor Citron is an internationally recognized information privacy expert. Her book Hate Crimes in Cyberspace (Harvard University Press) explored the civil rights and civil liberties implications of cyber stalking. The editors of Cosmopolitan included her book in “20 Best Moments for Women in 2014.” Professor Citron has published more than 25 law review articles appearing or forthcoming in Yale Law Journal, California Law Review (twice), Michigan Law Review (twice), Harvard Law Review Forum, Boston University Law Review (three times), Notre Dame Law Review (twice), Fordham Law Review, George Washington Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, Texas Law Review, Washington University Law Review (twice), Southern California Law Review, Washington & Lee Law Review, Wake Forest Law Review, Washington Law Review (twice), UC Davis Law Review, among other journals. Her current scholarly project concerns sexual privacy as well as deep fakes and the challenges to privacy, democracy, and national security.

Professor Citron’s opinion pieces have appeared in media outlets, such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, Slate, Lawfare, Time, CNN, The Guardian, New Scientist, ars technica, and New York Daily News. In 2015, the United Kingdom’s Prospect Magazine named Professor Citron one of the “Top 50 World Thinkers;” the Daily Record named her one of the “Top 50 Most Influential Marylanders.”

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