A Pennsylvania woman was arrested last week after police discovered she’d created “Deepfake” videos of her daughter’s cheerleading rivals in an apparent effort to harass and intimidate them.
Charged with multiple misdemeanors, the woman’s alleged crimes involve sending videos to the cheerleading team’s coaches and the girls targeted that had been altered using AI-powered software to make it appear as though members of the team were engaging in lewd or rule-breaking behavior.
The case is being handled by Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub’s office, which recently told reporters the woman also sent anonymous messages to the victims harassing them, including making statements urging the cheerleaders to take their own lives.
Local news reports indicate the woman’s actions were intended to force her daughter’s rivals off the squad – all indications are that the daughter was unaware of her mother’s actions.
Background: Detectives tracked down the woman after tracing phone numbers used to send messages to the cheerleaders. According to reports, the phone numbers lead to a company that sells Deepfakes to marketing teams. It’s unclear at this time if the woman works for the company, solicited its work, or created the Deepfakes herself.
Quick take: Don’t believe everything you see. Deepfakes have been around for a few years now, and a number of people have been arrested for their misuse.
We’ve seen them used to entertain and amaze, but it’s been clear since their inception that Deepfakes represent a danger to society.
Luckily, there’s still ways to detect Deepfakes. But that could change quickly as developers figure out how to overcome the platform’s shortcomings.
As the skill and technology-level required to discern the difference between a Deepfake and the real thing continue to rise, we’re almost certain to see more situations like this.
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Published March 15, 2021 — 17:46 UTC