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Launching the Deepfake Detection Challenge: a collaborative effort against digital deception 

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Academia, Artificial Intelligence, Innovation, Law enforcement, Security

On May 1st, a diverse group of over 150 participants from government, policing, technology companies and academia gathered in London for the Deepfake Detection Challenge Briefing.

The event featured real-life case studies illustrating the challenges deepfakes pose across government sectors and insights from industry experts - including Mandiant, Google, Faculty and Coefficient. The briefing marked the official launch of the Challenge Statements, which outline the current critical issues needing resolution.

The Deepfake Detection Challenge is an exciting opportunity for industry, academia and HMG, policing, and others to unite to overcome the challenges of deepfakes. Initiated earlier this year, the Challenge is a joint effort between the Home Office, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), the Alan Turing Institute, and the Accelerated Capability Environment (ACE). The Challenge kicked off with two workshops—one focused on policy development within HMG and Law Enforcement, and the other on technological advancements, with participation from subject matter experts from industry and academia.

This initial discovery work led to the formulation of five distinct Challenge Statements:

  1. How can we detect which elements of a digital asset are deepfakes?
  2. How can content authenticity techniques be used to validate provenance?
  3. How can external data be used in the deepfake detection process?
  4. How can tooling be used to assist humans in deepfake detection?
  5. How can “commonsense reasoning” be used in deepfake detection?

Real life use cases 

The Home Office, sponsors of the Challenge, introduced the importance of deepfake detection from a government policy perspective. The team from DSIT continued by sharing their insights and challenges around the new Online Safety Act, aimed at making the UK the safest online environment. They highlighted the rapid evolution of technology and the challenges it presents in keeping legislation both future-proof and tech-neutral.

Throughout the briefing, the recurring theme was the critical need for collaboration. The Head of Innovation, at the Office of the Chief Police Scientific Adviser, emphasised that the efforts in the coming months could significantly impact how we address threats in various sectors. Engaging discussions and collaborations unfolded throughout the day, highlighting the importance of sharing skills and experiences across disciplines to tackle the challenges posed by deepfakes effectively.

The urgency to act quickly was evident, with the team likening the pace of deepfake development to an athletics track where criminals are outpacing government efforts. It is essential to adopt new methodologies swiftly, safely, legally and ethically to stay ahead.

ACE reminded attendees that the challenge doesn't end with the showcase—it's about proving capabilities and determining their application; this is not just a competition but a sustained effort to combat deepfakes.

The work to date on the Deepfake Detection Challenge has shown how effective collaboration can be; how HMG, policing, law enforcement, industry and academia are better together, uniting to overcome the challenges of deepfake detection.

The future of the Deepfake Detection Challenge is open – it is an opportunity to be part of the future of deepfakes – to see the work created during the Challenge come to fruition, working in real life situations. There’s still time to get involved. If you are interested in participating and would like more information, please contact The Challenge will close towards the end of May.

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