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Monday, July 15, 2024

Solon backs Comelec plan to ban deepfake, AI use in ‘25 campaign

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Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte has expressed support for the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) proposal to ban the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and deepfake technology in electoral campaigns, to preserve honesty and transparency in the 2025 elections onwards.

Villafuerte said he welcomes Comelec chairperson George Garcia’s proposal for the poll body to disqualify or file election offense cases or both against candidates found using AI and deepfake technology in the 2025 midterm elections.

The lawmaker agreed with Garcia that the possible abuse of this recently developed technology could lead to—as stated by the Comelec chief—the “fraudulent misrepresentation” of candidates during electoral campaigns.

“I agree with Chairman Greg (Garcia) that the use of deepfake technology with malicious intent would subvert the very purpose of campaigns, which is for the electorate to have enough time to know poll contenders sufficiently and truthfully, so our voters can make informed choices come Election Day,” said Villafuerte, who has taken part in electoral politics for two decades now.

He also called on Garcia to accelerate the Comelec’s plan to enter into Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs) with different online platforms on detecting and fighting the spread of deepfakes via the Internet.

“It is important to approach AI with caution and responsibility, making sure that it is used in an ethical and transparent manner,” Villafuerte said. “Being the latest disruptive technology, AI has to be dealt with by our government in a cautious and responsible manner, especially when it comes to our electoral system.”

“The implementation of AI in government processes can certainly improve the delivery of public services, especially with the automation of systems and data management. But we cannot rush headlong into allowing AI, specifically deepfake technology, into our election campaigns, given that the potential for misinformation or disinformation is huge and the capability of the Comelec to respond to or counter such threat is certainly limited at this point,” said Villafuerte.

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