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The U.S. Defence Department declares war on fake news with the DARPA

The last weapon of the U.S. Department of Defense against fake news and propaganda is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

The U.S. Department of Defense has started fighting fake news an “deep fake” on Internet and social media. As NBC wrote, the Pentagon is using for this task the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It was formed in response of the Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite into space. The it developed and tested many cyber and IT projects. As the driverless cars and the early iterations of Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant. Not only, the DARPA has worked in many programmes, especially military but with great repercussions on the civil society. The Agency motto, indeed, is “Creating Breakthourh Tecnologies and capabilities for National Security”. “We have a mission within DARPA to invest in breakthrough technologies that prevent strategic surprise,” said David Doermann, program manager of DARPA’s new media forensics project called MediFor to NBC, “and essentially guarantee national security.”

The DARPA researchers are working on an automated tool to detect manipulations and provide detailed information about how the file was altered

The DARPA researchers are working to create an automated tool to detect manipulations and then provide detailed information about how a photo, video or audio file was altered. This will be a major advantage in the fight against fake and deep fake news. “If our adversaries are able to generate material that can spread quickly, they can generate all of this in a disinformation campaign,” Doermann warned, emphasizing that people should always be skeptical that anything they are exposed to online could be challenged in one way or another for reality. One of the best example is the picture of Parkland shooting survivor, Emma Gonzalez that circulated on the Internet. She was shown ripping up a the U.S. Constitution and the image became viral. But originally it was a shooting range target. The modified pic was used to spread criticism about her patriotism and motives, because she attracted Media attention on the gun control issue.

On the web are growing the enemies of the fake news and propaganda

The analysis of multimedia is starting spreading on the web to counter fake news and propaganda. Apart from DARPA, there are many private or volountary groups that spend all the day on this mission. One of the first was Bellingcat. As it’s reported on the group website, “uses open source and social media investigation to investigate a variety of subjects. From Mexican drug lords to conflicts being fought across the world. Bellingcat brings together contributors who specialise in open source and social media investigation, and creates guides and case studies so others may learn to do the same”.

The complete article by NBC on the DARPA new task

The official website of DARPA

The official BELLINGCAT website

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