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Sen. Hassan Questions FBI Director On 'Deepfakes'

U.S. Sentaor Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, at a hearing of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Oct. 10, 2018.
U.S. Sentaor Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, at a hearing of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Oct. 10, 2018.

New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan said she wants to make sure the FBI has the authority and the tools it needs to crack down on so-called "deepfakes."

Those are videos that use digital editing and artificial intelligence to falsely portray public figures.

At a meeting of the Senate's homeland security committee Wednesday, Hassan said "deepfakes" could be used to depict a government official, such as the defense secretary, making fictional statements about other countries.

"This false rhetoric could trigger mass protests or instability in regions, force impulsive reactions from countries who fall for the ruse, and cause massive shifts in stock markets across the world," Hassan said.

FBI director Christopher Wray called this a "topic of great concern."

"Every time we have some great new technology, I have two reactions: One is, 'Wow, that's awesome. I cant believe we can do that.' And then, "Oh my God. I can't believe they can do that.' And this is a great example of that."

Wray said the FBI already has "a number of [its] science and technology folks burrowing in on this issue."

Buzzfeed and Jordan Peele sought to draw attention to "deepfakes" in a video posted in April, in which Peele puts words in the mouth of former President Barack Obama. The video has more than 5 million views.

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