April 29 2021, 12:40 pm

European Politicians Tricked By Deepfake Pretending To Be Navalny Chief Of Staff

Dutch media is report­ing that politi­cians from the Nether­lands, Latvia, Esto­nia, and Britain were tricked into hold­ing video calls with some­one using deep­fake tech­nol­o­gy to imper­son­ate the chief of staff of Russ­ian oppo­si­tion fig­ure Alex­ey Naval­ny. Accord­ing to a Volk­skrant arti­cle:

April, 24, 2021 Dutch par­lia­men­tar­i­ans on Wednes­day held a video con­ver­sa­tion with a fake ver­sion of the chief of staff of the Russ­ian oppo­si­tion leader Alex­ei Naval­ny. A deep­fake, says this chief of staff him­self. Are deep­fakes real­ly that good these days? And above all: are we sure it is a deep­fake?   What is going on? “Wel­come to the deep­fake era,” Leonid Volkov, the right-hand man of oppo­si­tion leader Naval­ny, said in a Face­book state­ment. Sev­er­al Euro­pean politi­cians have recent­ly had con­ver­sa­tions with a fake ver­sion of him — Volkov sees no dif­fer­ence with his own face. His fake ver­sion showed up in a Zoom meet­ing with politi­cians from the Baltic States and the Unit­ed King­dom. After that it became clear to the Dutch MPs that it was also faked. The con­ver­sa­tion was held “with some­one pos­ing as him”, the Cham­ber Reg­istry told De Volk­skrant on Fri­day. The Par­lia­men­tary Com­mis­sion of the Baltic States, like Volkov, is con­vinced that the fake Volkov is not a per­son of flesh and blood, but is man­u­fac­tured by arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence. So a deep­fake. The Lat­vian TV chan­nel LTV, which had a Zoom inter­view with “Volkov”, also came to that con­clu­sion. [Trans­lat­ed with Google Translate]

Read the rest here.

Deep­fakes use a form of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence called deep learn­ing to make images of fake events in which a per­son in an exist­ing image or video is replaced with some­one else’s likeness.

Recent Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report cov­er­age of Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns tar­get­ing Russ­ian oppo­si­tion fig­ure Alex­ey Naval­ny has included:

  • In March, we report­ed that NATO had been tar­get­ed with false nar­ra­tives about protests in Rus­sia relat­ed to the arrest of oppo­si­tion fig­ure Navalny.
  • In March, we report­ed that the Krem­lin had launched a pro­pa­gan­da cam­paign to under­mine West­ern sol­i­dar­i­ty with Naval­ny uti­liz­ing Russ­ian and West­ern left-wing commentators.
  • In Novem­ber, we report­ed that some of the most pop­u­lar cov­er­age of Navalny’s poi­son­ing sto­ry in Ger­many came from Krem­lin-fund­ed out­lets which ques­tioned Berlin’s efforts to blame Moscow for the attack.


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