Asian military bans ‘digital clone’ app

Lazy eyes listen


Apps that require users to upload personal images and then use artificial intelligence to construct a person’s digital clone are no longer available to Philippine military personnel, according to the country’s Department of National Defence. Defence Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. has cautioned that such apps could be dangerous to one’s security.

Military officials confirmed the validity of a memo issued by Teodoro last week and widely circulated online in recent days on Friday. However, the government did not provide any other information about the ban.

The defence minister mentioned an app that utilises artificial intelligence to build a “digital person that mimics how a real individual speaks and moves” after being fed ten images of a user.

“This seemingly harmless and amusing AI-powered application can be maliciously used to create fake profiles, which can lead to identity theft, social engineering, phishing attacks, and other malicious activities,” Teodoro stated, adding that he is aware of such instances.

The official advised his colleagues to be cautious when exchanging information on the internet in general.

The US National Security Agency (NSA) and FBI issued a threat notice last month over ‘deepfake’ technology, which may be used to help infiltrate computer systems in the military and other critical targets.

“The tools and techniques for manipulating authentic multimedia are not new, but the ease and scale with which cyber actors are using these techniques are,” said NSA mathematician Candice Rockwell Gerstner in a statement. She recommended US businesses to learn how to spot deepfakes and to plan ahead of time in case the technology is used against them.

Aside from corporations, the advisory cautioned that American security agencies, the Pentagon, and defence contractors are also vulnerable.

The letter also expresses worry that “synthetic media can also cause public unrest through the spread of false information about political, social, military, or economic issues.”