US Military taking aim at fake news through DARPA image software

Fake news on internet in modern digital age, conceptual illustration with text overlaying hexadecimal encrypted computer code

As the threat of “deep fakes” becomes ever more present, the US Military is employing some of its most sophisticated digital assets in an effort to keep our elections safe.

“Deep fakes” are a product of our modern digital age, where savvy editors can create photos and video footage that are phony, yet indistinguishable from the real thing.  So far, this has been a platform for pranksters and online comedy outfits, but the terrifying potential is still evident as we chuckle.

In order to provide the nation’s electorate with safeguards against such a threat, DARPA is looking to enhance their capabilities.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants custom software that can unearth fakes hidden among more than 500,000 stories, photos, video and audio clips. If successful, the system after four years of trials may expand to detect malicious intent and prevent viral fake news from polarizing society.

“A decade ago, today’s state-of-the-art would have registered as sci-fi — that’s how fast the improvements have come,” said Andrew Grotto at the Center for International Security at Stanford University. “There is no reason to think the pace of innovation will slow any time soon.”

Russian “trolls” were responsible for a concerted effort to sway the 2016 US elections…something that authorities have been warning will be far more potent next time around.

Not everyone has seen the threat for what it is, however.

U.S. officials have been working on plans to prevent outside hackers from flooding social channels with false information ahead of the 2020 election. The drive has been hindered by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to consider election-security legislation. Critics have labeled him #MoscowMitch, saying he left the U.S. vulnerable to meddling by Russia, prompting his retort of “modern-day McCarthyism.”

This isn’t the first time that DARPA has been in the news this week, either.

The high-tech agency on Tuesday asked Twitter to help them locate large, underground, manmade structures that they could potentially use for experimentation, providing no further information other than a deadline for submissions:  Just 72 hours later on Friday.