Taiwan developing software against ‘deepfakes’ ahead of key elections

Taiwan's Investigation Bureau said Wednesday it is developing software to identify so-called "deepfakes," as part of its efforts to prevent the dissemination of false information by hostile foreign forces ahead of the local government elections later in the year.

In a statement, the bureau said it is also collaborating with prosecutors to crack down on vote buying and the infiltration of foreign funds in the Nov. 26 local government elections.

The information promulgated in "deepfakes" usually involves realistically manipulated fake videos and other presentations of public figures, using sophisticated machine-learning techniques, the bureau said, adding that it is working with tech firms to develop software to counter any such attempts ahead of the November elections.

According to the bureau, "deepfakes" were used last year, backed by foreign forces, to discredit the Taiwan government's handling of a domestic COVID-19 outbreak.

Some 234 people in 174 cases came under investigation on suspicion of spreading false information during the outbreak, which lasted from May to July and prompted a nationwide Level 3 COVID-19 alert, the bureau said.

Meanwhile, the bureau said, it has set up a task force to deal with corporate espionage, in particular to investigate alleged efforts by China to poach talent and steal trade secrets from Taiwan's key sectors, including its semiconductor and petrochemical industries.

On Wednesday, three locations in New Taipei were raided as part of an investigation into a Taiwan firm that allegedly was recruiting talent for a Chinese semiconductor company, according to the Taipei District Prosecutors Office.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel