Press Releases

Wexton Bill Would Establish NSF Prize Competition to Spark New Deepfake Detection Technology

Washington, December 19, 2019

Washington, DC -- Today Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) introduced legislation directing the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish prize competitions in order to incentivize new research into technology that would detect deepfakes.

“Deepfakes pose a serious threat to our national security, and there are significant challenges in our ability to effectively identify this manipulated content,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “Establishing prize competitions in this critical field of research will help spur greater innovation and research into technologies that can detect deepfakes. With this bill, we will expand the tools available to address this growing threat to our democracy.”

Prize competitions at NSF have helped spur further research on important and emerging topics like data science, engineering, and astrophysics. The rapidly developing nature of artificial intelligence and machine learning has created a demand for new thinking and new technology to keep up with this threat. The United States General Services Administration estimates that since 2010 federal agencies have conducted more than 840 prize competitions and offered more than $280 million in prize money.

In October, Wexton pressed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his site’s unwillingness to moderate political deepfakes, particularly Facebook’s decision to not remove the widely-circulate deepfake of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Wexton also authored an amendment to the Identifying Outputs of Generative Adversarial Networks (IOGAN) Act, which passed the House last week. The IOGAN Act supports research to close existing gaps in the technology to identify outputs of generative adversarial networks (GANs), also known as “deepfake” videos. Wexton’s amendment directs the National Science Foundation to support research on public awareness and understanding of manipulated digital content.

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