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Austria deploys new plan to tackle deepfakes

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Austria deploys new plan to tackle deepfakes

The Austrian Government has published a new action plan to reduce disinformation and hate speech via the regulation of deepfakes, Euractiv reports.

The new legislation builds on a 2020 investigation by an inter-ministerial task force composed of the Austrian federal chancellery, the ministry of justice, the ministry of defense, and the ministry of foreign affairs.

On that occasion, the group has worked to raise awareness on the topic, both at a governmental level and in regard to the Austrian population.

Now, the country’s administration intends to build on the task force’s work in order to regulate deep fake videos further, particularly in relation to fundamental rights and personal rights, such as freedom of expression and artistic freedom, plus further work to make the public aware of the threat.

The four areas identified for action on deepfakes by the task force are ‘Structures and Processes,’ ‘Governance,’ ‘Research and Development,’ and ‘International Cooperation.’

Deepfake videos have been used extensively over the past few years, mainly as fraud instruments, but also to spread misinformation.

“[Deepfakes also pose a] considerable security policy risk because the identification of artificial influence is difficult to prove or trace,” the Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner said at a press conference earlier this week.

“Deep fakes are used to manipulate public opinion and democratic processes, or to target individuals with hatred on the net,” Justice Minister Alma Zadic told Euractiv.

The call for further regulation of deepfakes in Austria comes at a time of increased awareness in the EU, with initiatives such as the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act directly addressing some of the issues connected with the unlawful use of the technology.

A recent report by KYC provider Sensity suggests that some biometric KYC products on the market are not effectively spotting deepfake spoofing attacks.

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