They deceive several European politicians through video call with a deepfake that imitated a Russian opponent
Deepfakes as a political weapon. Several European MPs have been misled by this technology, believing to be making a video call with the Russian opposition. Among them are Rihards Kols, head of Latvia’s foreign affairs commission, Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the UK’s foreign affairs committee, as well as other politicians from Estonia and Lithuania, as described The Guardian.
European politicians believed they were talking to Leonid Volkov, an ally of Russian opposition leader Navalny. However, according to explains Kols, it was actually an elaborate deepfake. “The Kremlin is so weak […] what are they carrying out fake meetings to discredit Navalny’s team“, Explain Tugendhat, another of those affected.
Deepfakes already wreak havoc on European diplomacy
Volkov himself Explain how much the deepfake looks like him: “The most impressive thing is ‘my’ face in the conference call with the Baltic MPs. It looks like my real face, but how did they manage to put it on the Zoom call? Welcome to the age of deepfakes.”
As described Jellyfish, the politicians were allegedly contacted by Volkov on March 16 and requested a meeting with the foreign commission to discuss the attempted assassination of Navalny and the politicians imprisoned in Russia. The meeting finally took place with Kols on March 23, although previous days they would also have had a video call with other Lithuanian politicians.
The problem is that on the other side of Zoom were not the real Russian opponents. That Volkov was actually a deepfake and it was all a trap to leave them in a bad place, according to those affected.
– Rihards Kols (@RihardsKols) April 22, 2021
“It is clear that the call was of the decay of the truth or of the post-truth and the post-facts has the potential to seriously threaten the security and stability of countries, local and international governments and societies, “argues Kols.
Although there are mechanisms to detect deepfakes with a high percentage of efficiency, Europol has warned in its latest report of the challenges of this technology, encouraging action to prevent these possible dangers.
“Deepfakes are the best known use of AI as an attack vector and there is currently no technological solution that is tailored to effectively detect all types of deepfakes,” explained the european police report. This recent incident with Russia is the public example of how deepfakes are used today to deceive and generate possible conflicts.