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Taiwan establishes task force against China’s election-meddling deepfakes

Move part of Taiwan’s response to China’s disinformation efforts

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In this Sept. 15, 2021, file photo, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, second from right, watches as a military jet taxis along a highway in Jiadong, T...

In this Sept. 15, 2021, file photo, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, second from right, watches as a military jet taxis along a highway in Jiadong, T... (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The National Security Bureau (NSB) has established a task force dedicated to countering deepfakes used to influence elections or disrupt society in Taiwan from Chinese perpetrators.

The move was prompted by the discovery of falsified photos or videos featuring Taiwanese leadership in 2018 released by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Chen Chin-kuang (陳進廣), deputy director-general of the NSB, said. He made the remark at a legislative interpellation on Wednesday (Nov. 3) regarding Taiwan’s response to 21st-century crime, reported Liberty Times.

According to Chen, intelligence has pointed to such activity involving manipulated audio and visual content, which warranted the set-up of a special unit to tackle the potential threats to national security and electoral integrity using AI-generated technologies.

The official added the NSB was hit with over 40,000 cyberattacks in 2020, with the number already hitting 10,000 more, so far this year. Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) echoed his statement by saying that many of such attacks were originated in China.

Last month President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) vowed action against deepfakes after an influencer was busted producing deceitful pornographic videos featuring actors or actresses whose faces were swapped with that of celebrities.

China has been identified as an alleged culprit behind continued disinformation campaigns against Taiwan, especially during major events such as presidential inaugurations, national day celebrations, and how the country handled the COVID-19 pandemic.