Deepfakes and Audiovisual Disinformation

Deepfakes and Audiovisual Disinformation

Question 2

This question carries 10% of the assignment marks.

Before tackling this question you should study Block 3 Part 8 Section 8.5.

In your study of TM255 you have encountered issues that have profound implications for society. You have seen how AI might help prevent and solve crime, but also how bias can be built into algorithms. You have seen how the GPS on a smartphone can be invaluable for helping you navigate and for telling you about local services, but also how it means that you are constantly tracked. As a consequence of these and many other developments, it is vital that legislation is up to date and ‘fit for purpose’ in the information society. This in turn can only happen if the people responsible for passing legislation are aware of the capabilities of technologies and the way in which they can and are being used.

This question asks you to write an email to a member of parliament (MP) about a current technological development. Your email should help the MP to understand the nature of the technology involved and the consequences of the adoption of the technology, and should either draw attention to the role of any proposed legislation associated with the technology or of the need for changes to existing legislation. Your email may also explicitly lobby for an approach to the legislation if you believe that to be appropriate.

To answer this question you will need to know /do following

  • Write to your MP – Mr Michael Geremdas
  • The topic is:

The topic for TMA03 Question 2 is Deepfakes and Audiovisual Disinformation. The UK government’s Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) published a snapshot paper on this topic on 12 September 2019.

You can read the paper on CDEI website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cdei-publishes-its-first-series-of-three-snapshot-papers-ethical-issues-in-ai/snapshot-paper-deepfakes-and-audiovisual-disinformation

The paper gives an overview of the current technologies used to create fake images, discusses how these fake images can make fake news more convincing and the current legislation against Deepfakes.

Your task for Question 1 is to write an email to your MP which helps them understand the potential positive or negative impact of Deepfakes to society and persuade them to take actions. In order to do this, you will need to read the paper reached from the link above. You might also search for comment on the paper or information elsewhere on the web. However, note that there are only 10 marks for Question 2, and not all of them are for the technical content (the breakdown of the marking is given at the end of the question), so you are not expected to spend a disproportionate time on background reading

  • Write the email. (An example email to an MP can be found in Activity 8.19.)

There isn’t a right answer for the position that you take on the subject, but your email should present a clear justification for your argument. You should not take an overtly political stance, but instead should present yourself as an ‘expert witness’. Your email should be polite, logically justified and supported by evidence where appropriate, and you should aim to show that you have appropriate technical knowledge. If you can find out anything about your MP’s prior knowledge and opinions relevant to the topic, then this will help you focus your comments more effectively. Your MP is more likely to read your email if it is concise, so it should be no more than 300 words.

You do not need to send the email to your MP as part of this assignment; but you may do so if you wish.Order Now from Course ResearchersThere are 10 marks for this question, allocated approximately as follows:

  • the basic mechanics of your answer (for identifying the MP that you will be contacting and correctly following all of the instructions including the length of the email) (2 marks)
  • the quality of presentation (structure, style, grammar and punctuation) (2 marks)
  • the use and presentation of evidence in your email (3 marks)
  • the quality of your argument (3 marks).

Sample Email  to a Member of the UK Parliament

To: Mr Michael Geremdas email

From: Student email


Dear Sir,

I write to alert you of a technology that threatens the entity of innocent citizens of the United Kingdom. Deepfakes alters the audio-visual content of harmless individuals to tarnish their reputation. Forms of the harmful technology include face reenactment, face generation, and speech synthesis. Under face reenactment, an ill-natured individual manipulates the facial features of the victim. For instance, the victim’s mouth movement may be altered to make them appear to be saying a false statement. Additionally, a malicious person may replace the facial features of an individual with that of another person. Finally, one may model the voice of an innocent person to make them appear to be reading a doctored speech.

Sir, the implications for this contemptuous technology are dire. For instance, political unrest may result from the deepfake of a renowned politician expressing the need for an upheaval. In 2017, a Belgium technologist doctored false videos of President Donald Trump requesting members to dissociate from the Paris Climate Agreement, which stirred unrest in viewers (Center for Data and Ethics Innovation, 2019). The majority of deepfakes hurt celebrities whose faces are doctored in pornographic materials. Hence, deepfakes harm the images of innocent individuals.

I hereby propose that legislative actions, such as jail terms for deepfake content creators, be considered. I also propose that we fine fintech companies that fail to withdraw reported online content. The state may also fund research to devise technology that may detect the sources of deepfake content creators. Finally, the government should create a public awareness campaign to educate people on the adverse consequences of deepfakes and how to identify them

I hope to receive a positive response from you soon.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Student’s Name

Question 3

This question carries 70% of the assignment marks.

Before tackling this question you should study Block 3 Part 7.

Dynamic Air Parts plc is a high-tech aircraft component manufacturer that supplies parts to well-known aircraft manufacturers. It owns a large manufacturing complex that covers an area of 10,000 square metres and it employs approximately 500 workers. The complex is divided into a number of departments that are spread over several buildings.

Due to the commercial sensitivities of the company’s manufacturing processes, the security on the complex has always been high. Security checks take place at the main entrances and exits of the complex and security cameras are in almost all public areas. All areas of the complex are accessible only to authorised persons and some areas are more restricted than others. Access to the buildings and individual departments within those buildings is through authorisation channels, which are automatic gates or doors that allow one person to pass at a time and are controlled by a Near-Field Communication (NFC) based smart card authorisation system. All accesses are logged and stored in a networked computer system. The operation of the current authorisation system is that a user puts their smart card close to a card reader alongside an authorisation channel. The secret code stored in the card, which represents the user, is checked against a list of codes that represent the authorised persons. If a match is found, the automatic gate or door is unlocked and the user can pass through it.

The senior managers are planning to strengthen the authorisation channel security by adding a biometric authentication to the current smart card system such that the system becomes a two-factor authentication system. The role of the smart card is to serve as an identification card and to store biometric information of the user in a secure manner. The system will authenticate users by validating both their smart cards and biometrics. The senior managers believe that this new system will make unauthorised access to the complex (including its buildings and individual departments within those buildings) with a borrowed, stolen or cloned card much more difïŹcult.

According to the descriptions on the product catalogues they requested and received, both iris and fingerprint systems appear to be suitable authentication systems for this purpose. However, the management team need more information to inform their ongoing discussion. They know one of their IT officers has studied an OU module (TM255) covering biometrics and information security. They have therefore asked the IT officer to provide them with a report that will supply the information they need. Imagine you are that IT officer and you have been asked to prepare the report. Your brief is that the report is to cover the following.

  • A general description of biometric authentication systems and a brief description of how each of the iris and fingerprint systems authenticates users.
  • A comparison between the iris and fingerprint authentication systems under the headings of:
    • convenience
    • reliability
    • acceptability (including ethical considerations).

In each case you should consider the points of view of both the company and the employees.

  • Drawing on these comparisons, provide a justified recommendation of which biometric system would best meet the company’s needs.

Most members of the management team know little or nothing about security systems and have only a vague idea about relevant issues. However, two key members of the management team have a particular interest in biometric systems and have therefore asked for a more detailed explanation of how iris and fingerprint systems capture and process the users’ data. The report should therefore also include a section in an appendix, intended solely for them, that deals explicitly with this. The rest of the report should provide the information the other members of the management team need to inform their future discussions without them having to read the appendix.

Write this report. You have been asked not to exceed 2200 words.

You should draw on what Block 3 Part 7 has to say about writing reports. Be sure to include a reference list if you quote or cite anything.

You are strongly advised to critically evaluate and improve your report before you submit it, using the criteria listed in Stage 5 of Block 3 Part 7 Section 7.6.

Do not exceed the limit of 2200 words. This limit includes any material in appendices, but does not include the executive summary, which will be your answer to Question 4. State the total number of words you have used at the end of your report.

See also ‘Notes relating to Question 3’ near the end of this TMA.Order Now from Course ResearchersNotes relating to Question 3

In this question you need to ‘role play’ – that is, you need to write a report that not only meets the brief but also suits the specified audience and purpose.

Material beyond TM255

Most of the material you need in order to write the report is contained in Block 3. For iris systems, which are not covered by the block material in great depth, the TM255 module team suggests you use the following papers. Although the papers are not recent, the technologies are fairly stable. You should be aware that the papers were written to promote their own biometric technologies, so their points of view may be biased.

You may need to do a little research on the web in order to expand your understanding of one or two topics, but you should not need to spend more than an absolute maximum of an hour doing this.

Counting the number of words used

Your total of the number of words you have used in Question 3 should include:

  • all headings – including sub-headings, table headings and figure captions
  • any material you put in appendices
  • any glossary
  • any items you put in lists – except a reference list
  • any footnotes
  • any quotations you make from other sources.

You may exclude:

  • the contents list (if any)
  • the bibliography (if any)
  • the reference list
  • text within figures
  • text within tables.

Please note, however, that if you have put text into a table simply to reduce the word count, rather than because a table is the most appropriate means of presenting the information, your tutor will adjust your word total upwards by an appropriate amount.

Question 4

This question carries 7% of the assignment marks.

Along with the main report, you have been asked to provide an executive summary, which should not exceed 300 words. Write this executive summary.

You should refer back to Block 3 Part 7 Section 7.2 to help you to answer this question.

Do not exceed the limit of 300 words. State the total number of words you have used at the end of your executive summary.

Although an executive summary is usually placed at the start of a report, it is normally written after the report has been completed and so, for the purposes of this assignment, we ask that you give the executive summary as your answer to Question 4. You do not need to replicate it at the start of the report you give in answer to Question 3.

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