Tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Twitter have failed to prepare for attempts to hack or compromise the 2020 presidential election.
That’s according to U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, who went on Monday’s edition of Recode’s podcast to say that neither the government nor private companies have done enough to ramp up cybersecurity protocols since the 2016 election — a troubling sign for the future of American democracy.
Schiff was particularly concerned about deepfakes being used to manipulate the public into thinking a politician did or said something that never happened.
“The tech companies aren’t ready,” Schiff told Recode. “They don’t have, I think, their policies fully thought out yet. The government isn’t ready. We don’t have the technologies yet to be able to detect more sophisticated fakes.”
Deepfakes tend to be a little rough around the edges, so it’s possible to spot these faked propaganda videos with a vigilant eye. But that requires people to pay extremely close attention to every bit of media that they consume — an unrealistic expectation for the public.
“And the public, by and large, when you bring up ‘deepfake,’ they don’t know what you’re referring to,” Schiff told Recode. “And so we don’t have much time. It’s eight months until the primaries begin to try to prepare the public, prepare ourselves, determine what other steps need to be taken to protect ourselves from this kind of disinformation.”
More on election security: Report: 2020 Candidates Are Going to Get Owned by Deepfakes