Select Page

The dog that never barked

The dog that never barked

Deepfakes have the potential to seriously harm people’s lives and to deter people’s trust in democratic institutions. They also continue to make the headlines.

Deepfakes, although characterized by some as “the dog that never barked”, have in fact the potential to seriously harm people’s lives and to deter people’s trust in democratic institutions. 

Deepfakes continue to make the headlines – the latest news at the time of writing this article being about Donald Trump’s Independence Day deepfake video – which  raised also important legal and ethical issues, almost three years after the term “deepfake” was first coined in the news. Behind the headlines, synthetically generated media content (also known as  deepfakes) have even more serious consequences on individual lives – and especially on the lives of women. Deepfakes are also expected to be increasingly weaponized and combined with other trends and technologies they are expected to heighten security and democracy challenges in areas like cyber-enabled crime, propaganda and disinformation, military deception, and international crises.

“Technical approaches are useful until synthetic media techniques inevitably adapt to them. A perfect deepfake detection system will never exist”.   Sam Gregory, program director of WITNESS

 

It´s a race

Researchers, academics, and industry are all working towards developing deepfake detection algorithms, but developments in the field occur both ways, and as new detection algorithms get better, so do available tools to create deepfakes. As Sam Gregory, program director of WITNESS puts it, “Technical approaches are useful until synthetic media techniques inevitably adapt to them. A perfect deepfake detection system will never exist”. 

Verification of synthetically generated media content is still part of the traditional verification and fact-checking techniques and should be approached in the context of these already existing methods. Even though technology cannot provide a yes-or-no answer in the question “Is this video fake?”, it can greatly aid journalists in the process of assessing the authenticity of deepfakes. That’s why we at the Digger team are working hard to provide journalists with tools that can help them determine if a certain video is real or synthetic. Stay tuned for our how-to article coming up soon!

 

Don’t forget: be active and responsible in your community – and stay healthy!

Related Content

All sorts of video manipulation

All sorts of video manipulation

What is the difference between a ‘face swap’, a ‘speedup’ or even a ‘frame reshuffling’ in a video? At the end of the day they all are manipulations of video content. We want to have a closer look into the different kinds of manipulations - whether it are audio...

ICASSP 2020 International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing

ICASSP 2020 International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing

Here is what we think are the most relevant upcoming audio-related conferences. And which sessions you should attend at the ICASSP 2020.

To keep up-to-date with the latest on audio-technology for our software development, we follow other researchers studies and we usually visit many conferences. Sadly, this time, we cannot attend them in person. Nevertheless, we can visit them virtually, together with you. Here is what we think are the most relevant upcoming audio-related conferences:

Let’s take a more detailed look at,

ICASSP 2020 International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing

Date: 04th – 8th of May, 2020
Location: https://2020.ieeeicassp.org/program/schedule/live-schedule/

This is a list of panels we recommend during the ICASSP 2020:

Date: Tuesday 05th of May 2020

  • Opening Ceremony (9:30 – 10:00h)
  • Plenary by Yoshua Bengio on “Deep Representation Learning” (15:00 – 16:00h)
    • Note: may be pretty technical, for deep learning enthusiastic
    • Note: He’s one of the fathers of deep learning

Date: Wednesday 06th of May 2020

Date: Thursday 07th of May 2020

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

The Digger project aims:

  • to develop a video and audio verification toolkit, helping journalists and other investigators to analyse audiovisual content, in order to be able to detect video manipulations using a variety of tools and techniques.
  • to develop a community of people from different backgrounds interested in the use of video and audio forensics for the detection of deepfake content.

Related Content

The dog that never barked

The dog that never barked

Deepfakes have the potential to seriously harm people’s lives and to deter people’s trust in democratic institutions. They also continue to make the headlines.

All sorts of video manipulation

All sorts of video manipulation

What is the difference between a ‘face swap’, a ‘speedup’ or even a ‘frame reshuffling’ in a video? At the end of the day they all are manipulations of video content. We want to have a closer look into the different kinds of manipulations - whether it are audio...

Digital verification – Lessons learned from social distancing

Digital verification – Lessons learned from social distancing

Rules are in place to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. One of them is called “social distancing” which helps to stop the transmission of Covid-19. What are the rules concerning Coronavirus information online?

Rules have been introduced across the globe about how to behave in order to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. One of these rules is called “social distancing” which helps to stop the transmission of Covid-19. It recommends we avoid crowds, take public transport at off-peak hours and keep physical distance to other people.  

What are the rules concerning Coronavirus information online? Daily updates about the spread and protection of Covid-19 are crucial and easy to find – online – but not all of them are true. Sharing misinformation online is like refraining from social distancing; tempting, but it could harm people. So how can you contribute to stopping the transmission of dis- and misinformation about Covid-19? These are the rules on how to deal with dubious information online:

1. Ask yourself: Does this information make sense? 

Subsequent questions are: What sources does the information rely on? Where do the numbers come from?

2. Double check the information with reliable sources like; quality journalism, fact-checkers and relevant experts. Here’s how to do that:

  • Google the claim using the main keywords or the headline like in the video below:
  • Golden rule: reverse image search a photo or video
  • Use Google Dorks (a search string that uses advanced search operators) and search on a specific news sites or in a specific timeframe (see image below):
  • Check Twitter lists with reliable sources on Covid-19, like these:
    • Tutorial: Search on Tweetdeck your Twitter List
    • Here is a Twitter list curated by Journalism.Co with reliable journalists and media
    • Here is a Twitter list curated by Jeff Jarvis with medical experts
    • Here is a Twitter list curated by IFCN with national fact-checking organisations

3. Still nothing? Wait or reach out to your doctor.

Remember: Share only what is fact-checked with your family and friends in your FB, WhatsApp and other communities!

Verification of videos and synthetic media

For verification of videos there are some specific rules. Here are the most important ones:

Golden rule: reverse image search a video 

The reverse image search enables a simple and quick check whether a video has been published online before, possibly in another context. This way you might also be able to retrieve the original source of the video. You can use the InVid-Plugin for selecting several thumbnails from the video and reverse search with different tools like Google and Yandex – or you take a screenshot and do the same via Google Images.

Visual content verification

Most video manipulation is still visible with your bare eye. Look at the small details visible in the video. If you think you are watching a fake you might want to check:

  • strange cuts, non-fluent frames can indicate manipulation,
  • does the body actually fit the face of a person and does the body language match the facial expression,
  • is the person on video showing natural behaviour; eg. blinking eyes, movement of eyes, movement of hands? 

To help make it a bit easier you can check the video ‘frame by frame’ with VLC player and check if the colour and shadows are changing in a consistent way that makes sense to you.  

With a precise eye for details you could use the verification plugin with magnifier functionality from InVid/WeVerify that enhances the quality of your zoomed area in video stills.

If there are shadows visible and you are really getting into it, you can determine when on the day the video was filmed with tools like Suncalc. Here is a detailed tutorial on using shadows.

Technical video verification

The devil is in the detail, and the manipulation technology evolves. For well done synthetic video you would need some elaborate algorithms to check manipulation. We’re trying to develop those in the Digger project. What you could try is to focus on audio; check if the acoustics of a video correlate with the scene recorded – is it outside and thus with background noises, are people talking in the background, and does that match the video? And obviously if the audio does not match the lip movements with poorly implemented lip synchronization, it is more likely a fake. Still not sure, consult a forensic expert like anyone on this deepfakes forensics Twitter list.

Reliable sources

Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest and more have taken steps against misinformation about the Coronavirus such as directing users to official sources when they search for Covid-19. 

Here are some helpful trustworthy sources for everyone of us:

  • World Health Organization – The WHO offers daily updates on the pandemic, guidance, and data on the spread. 
  • FirstDraft Resources for Reporters – Guides how to verify and a searchable archive of Coronavirus debunks.
  • Sifting Through the Pandemic – Mike Caufield’s simple and effective educational website teaches how to navigate online information. His approach runs counter to the news reader´s natural instincts. Mike has updated this post specifically for Coronavirus.
  • Fighting the Infodemic: The #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance The #CoronaVirusFacts / #DatosCoronaVirus Alliance unites more than 100 fact-checkers around the world in publishing, sharing and translating facts surrounding the Coronavirus.

Be active and responsible in your community – and stay healthy!

Related Content

All sorts of video manipulation

All sorts of video manipulation

What is the difference between a ‘face swap’, a ‘speedup’ or even a ‘frame reshuffling’ in a video? At the end of the day they all are manipulations of video content. We want to have a closer look into the different kinds of manipulations - whether it are audio...