Netherlands politicians (Geert Wilders (PVV), Kati Piri (PvdA), Sjoerd Sjoerdsma (D66), Ruben Brekelmans (VVD), Tunahan Kuzu (Denk), Agnes Mulder (CDA), Tom van der Lee (GroenLinks), Gert-Jan Segers (ChristenUnie) en Raymond de Roon (PVV).) just got a first-hand lesson about the dangers of deepfake videos. According to NL Times and De Volkskrant, the Dutch parliament’s foreign affairs committee was fooled into holding a video call with someone using deepfake tech to impersonate Leonid Volkov (above), Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s chief of staff.
The perpetrator hasn’t been named, but this wouldn’t be the first incident. The same impostor had conversations with Latvian and Ukranian politicians, and approached political figures in Estonia, Lithuania and the UK.
The country’s House of Representatives said in a statement that it was “indignant” about the deepfake chat and was looking into ways it could prevent such incidents going forward.
There doesn’t appear to have been any lasting damage from the bogus video call. However, it does illustrate the potential damage from deepfake chats with politicians. A prankster could embarrass officials, while a state-backed actor could trick governments into making bad policy decisions and ostracizing their allies. Strict screening processes might be necessary to spot deepfakes and ensure that every participant is real.