The Eerie Evolution of Deepfake Videos – Can Your Collection Methods Keep Pace?

Not long ago, deepfake videos – videos that portray something in a very convincing way but are actually entirely false - were something that largely existed in Hollywood – the product of special effects studios and experts trained to make the fictional seem realistic. Those familiar with the ever-evolving, rapidly changing pace of technology, however, will likely be unsurprised to find that this is no longer the case. In fact, deepfake videos are increasingly popping up online and across various media outlets all over the world in troubling numbers.

A “deepfake” video posted and recently broadcast on television channels across the United Kingdom included Prime Minister Boris Johnson appearing to endorse his opponent, Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn for prime minister[1]. The very convincing video was created by the think tank Future Advocacy, which also created a similar video of Corbyn appearing to endorse Johnson as well. The think tank explained that the videos were created using existed footage of the two men, which was then digitally manipulated to change their mouth movements, in order to correspond with a new script voiced by impressionists.

Those who have viewed the video have described it as “eerily convincing[2]” – and certainly, this video isn’t the only one of its kind. In fact, experts are anticipating that they might pose a major problem in upcoming U.S. elections. Certainly, these videos being created in high-stakes political contests are well-known and highly visible “deepfakes” being circulated – but they serve to prove a broader point. Ultimately, these highly visible deepfake videos are so troubling because they prove what is possible – that videos which seem convincing but are in fact entirely false can be created by anyone with the necessary intention and the right technology.

Indeed, as John Villasenor, a professor at UCLA whose focus is on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity recently stated, “Deepfakes can be made by anyone with a computer, internet access, and interest in influencing an election.[3]” Of course, elections aren’t the only subject matter that a deepfake video might address. In fact, as recently as April of this year, a senior writer at CSO noted that:

So far, deepfakes have been limited to amateur hobbyists putting celebrities' faces on porn stars' bodies and making politicians say funny things. However, it would be just as easy to create a deepfake of an emergency alert warning an attack was imminent, or destroy someone's marriage with a fake sex video, or disrupt a close election by dropping a fake video or audio recording of one of the candidates days before voting starts[4].

Indeed, only several months later, we see exactly those type of videos circulating online and in news outlets around the world. The proliferation of these deep fake videos is certainly only expected to continue as technological capabilities and access continue to increase for those who have the intention to create them.

What does this mean for you? As an attorney or an investigative firm, serving a client who may potentially be damaged by one of these false videos? The potential for creating false videos – about any sort of subject matter is unfortunately almost limitless. Once these videos are created and circulated online, the damage can occur quickly, and can be far-reaching. Certainly, if such video evidence were captured, it might be very useful information to have to present against a defendant in court, and to help protect your client’s rights – and their reputation.

The truth of the matter, though, is that finding detecting a deep fake video is one thing – effectively capturing at the moment that you need it is quite another. Often, these videos pop up suddenly, circulate for a short period of time, and then disappear as quickly as they appeared in the first place. The question is – can you capture that video evidence before it’s deleted forever? Unfortunately, for many attorneys and investigative firms, the answer is no. Why? Because those firms, and those attorneys are still relying on antiquated collection measures that can’t keep pace with modern technology and those who use it to post false content that they might remove shortly thereafter.

Is your firm still outsourcing its collection needs? If so, the simple truth of the matter is that you are losing valuable time – time in which very valuable evidence you need to prove your client’s case could disappear. Moreover, the simple truth is that it doesn’t make much sense for you to pay someone else to do what you could easily do yourself. Why would you pay extra fees, waste valuable time, and risk the loss of valuable evidence being deleted while you wait, when you could install the WebPreserver Plug-in yourself, and begin capturing the evidence you need, in the format you need it, immediately? In the world of deepfake technology, taking action quickly is of the essence, and utilizing the WebPreserver video-capture service is the best way to do it.

WebPreserver is the savvy, safe, logical choice. Your clients will certainly appreciate it too – not only because you’ve captured the video evidence they need, but also because they won’t receive the costly bill a service vendor would likely send you for the same service that WebPreserver already provides. The WebPreserver plugin can capture web, social media, and online video evidence at any time, on any device that allows Chrome extensions. You can capture the evidence at the moment that you (or your client) notice it – without having to rush to your office or call a vendor and hope they preserve it quickly, if they even have the technology that can do so. Do you really want to take that risk with such valuable evidence?

Moreover, when you capture evidence with WebPreserver – whether it is website content, social media posts or video content – you can be certain that you are capturing evidence that is authenticated. After all, there isn’t much point in gathering evidence in the first place, if it isn’t ultimately admissible. When you use WebPreserver, you are using a tool that generates forensic reports with a SHA256 forensic hash and HTML source code. All online preservations also include Metadata, and use a certified Stratum-1 atomic clock in compliance with the eSign Act.

Say goodbye to manually collecting metadata and relying on outdated and antiquated outsourcing collection methods that put your clients – and ultimately your reputation at risk. Call us today to discuss adopting the WebPreserver Plug-in as soon as possible. The potential for the creation and use of deepfake videos in a wide variety of far-reaching outlets is only going to continue to grow – will your potential to collect that evidence continue to keep pace? Eliminate any doubt, with WebPreserver.


[1] https://www.businessinsider.com/video-boris-johnson-endorses-jeremy-corbyn-in-convincing-deepfake-2019-11
[2] https://www.businessinsider.com/video-boris-johnson-endorses-jeremy-corbyn-in-convincing-deepfake-2019-11
[3] https://www.businessinsider.com/video-boris-johnson-endorses-jeremy-corbyn-in-convincing-deepfake-2019-11
[4] https://www.csoonline.com/article/3293002/deepfake-videos-how-and-why-they-work.html

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