White House Wants to ‘Cryptographically Verify’ Videos of Biden to Fight Deepfakes

white house cyrpotographic verification joe biden deepfake videos

The White House says it wants to “cryptographically verify” videos of President Joe Biden in a bid to fight AI-generated deepfakes.

According to a report by Business Insider, staff at the White House are becoming increasingly aware that the U.S. public needs a way to tell that statements from the President and related information are real in the new era of easily accessible generative AI.

Ben Buchanan, President Biden’s Special Advisor for Artificial Intelligence, tells Business Insider that White House staff are now working on a way to verify all of its official communications due to this rise in fake generative AI content.

Buchanan explained that the aim is to “essentially cryptographically verify” everything from the White House, whether that be a statement or a video from the President.

The goal is to ensure that any individual who sees footage of President Biden released by the White House can immediately tell that it is authentic and unaltered by a third party or AI technology.

“This is a case where we recognize the potential for harm,” Buchanan tells Business Insider.

“We’re trying to get ahead of it.”

In October, President Biden released an executive order outlining the federal government’s first regulations on AI systems. As part of the executive order, an AI Safety Institute at the Department of Commerce was tasked with creating standards for watermarking content to show provenance.

However, Buchanan tells Business Insider that this new effort to cryptographically verify White House videos and statements is a separate project. He describes it as a “longer process” though it is “in the works.”

It is still unclear what the White House’s cryptographic verification for videos and statements will entail.

According to Cyber News, a common method for doing cryptographic verification is a private and public key pairing. The source for a piece of information generates a hash value for any given video or document and encrypts it using its private key.

However, the hash can only be decrypted by the public key, which is available to all and attributed to the original author. This way, successful decryption using the public key confirms the owner of the private key — verifying the source.

Cyber News reports that any third-party attempts to alter the file would not contain the original hash value and so would not be able to verify themselves as authentic.

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