DOJ says it fears Biden-Hur audio release will lead to more ‘deepfakes’ of president

The DOJ articulated its concerns about the use of deepfake technology in a 49-page filing.

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The Department of Justice has claimed that it is concerned about releasing the audio recording of President Joe Biden’s interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur because of the potential for deepfakes to be created with its content event though many deepfakes of Biden already exist. This comes in response to a recent court filing advocating for the public release of the audio, which Biden has sought to prevent by claiming executive privilege

In a comprehensive 49-page filing, the DOJ articulated its apprehensions about the advancements in audio, artificial intelligence, and deepfake technologies. 

“The passage of time and advancements in audio, artificial intelligence, and ‘deep fake’ technologies only amplify concerns about malicious manipulation of audio files. If the audio recording is released here, it is easy to foresee that it could be improperly altered, and that the altered file could be passed off as an authentic recording and widely distributed,” the filing stated. 

Bradley Weinsheimer, an Associate Deputy Attorney General at the DOJ, elaborated on these concerns in an affidavit included in the filing. He argued that releasing the audio poses a “substantial risk that malicious actors could alter the recording to (for example) insert words that President Biden did not say or delete words that he did say.”  

He went on to explain that the DOJ believes that releasing the audio would “make it far more likely that malicious actors could pass off a deepfake as the authentic recording,” and if the audio was not released “the department or others would be much better able to establish the illegitimacy of any malicious deepfake,” according to Politico

Public concern over deepfakes of politicians has been mounting as the technology continues to improve. Deepfakes involve the use of artificial intelligence to create realistic but fake videos and audio recordings of individuals, making them appear to say or do things they never did. 

However, deepfake videos and audios of President Biden already exist, utilizing the large number of public speeches he has given over his lengthy political career. This has also been seen as an excuse not to release the audio recording which could be damaging to Biden’s reelection campaign. 

The DOJ’s argument also coincides with a report from the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project that said that the White House admitted to altering the transcript of Biden’s interview with Hur, cutting out filler and repeated words that could make Biden appear to be more articulate.  

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