Microsoft says there is no room for deepfakes in 2024 elections
In the next 14 months, over two billion people worldwide will have the opportunity to vote in national elections. From India to the European Union, to the United Kingdom and the United States, the world's democracies will be shaped by citizens exercising one of their most fundamental rights.
However, as voters exercise this right, another force is also at work to influence and possibly interfere with the outcomes of these consequential contests.
As detailed in a new threat intelligence assessment published by Microsoft's Threat Analysis Center (MTAC), the next year may bring unprecedented challenges to election protection. As described in this report, "Protecting Election 2024 from Foreign Malign Influence," the world in 2024 may see multiple authoritarian nation-states seek to interfere in electoral processes.
They may also combine traditional techniques with AI and other new technologies to threaten the integrity of electoral systems.
Given the technology-based nature of the threats involved, it is important for governments, technology companies, the business community, and civil society to adopt new initiatives, including building on each other's work.
To this end, Microsoft is announcing five new steps to protect electoral processes in the United States and other countries where critical elections will take place in 2024.
Microsoft's election protection commitments
Microsoft is grounding its Election Protection Commitments in a set of principles to help safeguard voters, candidates and campaigns, and election authorities worldwide. These principles are:
- Voters have the right to transparent and authoritative information regarding elections
- Candidates should be able to assert when content originates from their campaign and have recourse when their likeness or content is distorted by AI for the purpose of deceiving the public during the course of an election
- Political campaigns should protect themselves from cyber threats and be able to navigate AI with access to affordable and easily deployed tools, trainings, and support
- Election authorities should be able to ensure a secure and resilient election process and have access to tools and services that enable this process
Staying ahead and responding to threats against voters, candidates, political campaigns, and election authorities will require a combination of steps, including a range of tools and tactics.
Microsoft's five-point plan
Microsoft's five-point plan to protect elections in 2024 includes:
- Content Credentials as a Service
- Campaign Success Team
- Election Communications Hub
- Legislative and Legal Advocacy
- Authoritative Election Information on Bing
Content credentials as a service
This new tool allows candidates and campaigns to digitally sign and authenticate media using the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity's (C2PA) digital watermarking credentials.
These credentials provide a permanent record of the content's origin and history, helping to protect against tampering and misinformation.
Campaign Success Team
Microsoft has established a new Campaign Success Team within its Tech for Social Impact organization to provide advice and support to political campaigns on cybersecurity, AI, and content authenticity.
The team will also promote existing cyber protection programs such as M365 for Campaigns and AccountGuard.
Election communications hub
Microsoft is creating an Election Communications Hub to provide democratic governments worldwide with access to Microsoft security and support teams during the lead-up to their elections.
This hub will enable election authorities to quickly seek assistance in the event of any major security challenges.
Read also: Google declares war on deepfakes.
Legislative and legal advocacy
Microsoft is using its voice to advocate for legislative and legal changes that would further protect campaigns and electoral processes from deepfakes and other harmful uses of new technologies.
The company is endorsing the bipartisan "Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act" introduced in the United States Senate.
Authoritative election information on Bing
Microsoft is partnering with organizations that provide authoritative election information to ensure that Bing users can easily access reliable and trustworthy sources when searching for election-related information.
Bing will also collaborate with the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), the leading Spanish news agency EFE, and Reporters Without Borders to promote trusted news sources worldwide.Advertisement