Smartphone evidence of human rights abuses in the age of deepfakes – Eurasia Review

Yvonne McDermott Rees, Professor of Law at the Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, has received a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Startup Fellowship. The grant was one of the last rounds of awards to be part of Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation program. Over 4000 applications were received from across the EU and associated countries, of which less than one in ten were accepted.

User-generated evidence – such as videos recorded by witnesses on their cell phones – plays an important role in court cases around the world. This type of evidence has transformed the way we know about massive human rights violations and hold perpetrators to account.

Yet at the same time, the public is increasingly confronted with examples of ‘deepfakes’ – extremely realistic images, videos or audio recordings created using machine learning technology – which will never become. probably more advanced and difficult to detect than as technology advances. .

Using an innovative methodology combining legal trial analysis with mass online experiences and mock jury trials, Professor McDermott Rees’ project TRUE (TRust in User-generated Evidence) will develop the first systematic account of reliance on user-generated evidence, in the context of its use in human rights accountability processes.

TRUE will run from 2022 to 2027, allowing it to track the impact of technological advancements over time.

Professor Yvonne McDermott Rees of Swansea University said: “Scholarships to date have expressed concern that the increase in deepfakes will lead to mass distrust of the evidence generated by the users, and this in turn will reduce its usefulness in legal proceedings This may well be the case, but no study has yet tested this hypothesis.

I am very pleased that the ERC has chosen to generously support TRUE to fill a major evidence gap that urgently needs to be filled, and I look forward to starting this important research with a dedicated research team.

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “With this very first round of long-awaited grants, I am happy to see that the Council European Research remains the flagship of excellent and curiosity-driven science under the Horizon Europe program. I can’t wait to see what new breakthroughs and opportunities the new ERC laureates bring, and how they inspire young people to follow their curiosity and make discoveries for the benefit of all.

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