December 16, 2020
Contact: Wendy Robinson 
National Security Institute Publishes New Backgrounder:
“Decoding Deepfakes”
Arlington, VA – Today, as deepfake technology advances and proliferates across the internet, the National Security Institute (NSI) at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School publishes its latest Backgrounder, “Decoding Deepfakes,” by NSI Visiting Fellow Matthew F. Ferraro.

This Backgrounder not only highlights why policymakers and the public should be concerned about the impact of deepfakes, it also:

  • Defines “deepfakes”.
  • Explains how they are made and highlights recent examples.
  • Describes the dangers of deepfakes to national security, politics, business, economic security, and personal privacy.
  • Outlines potential technological and legislative fixes. 

“What happens to national security, business, and society when seeing isn’t believing?  We may soon find out as deepfakes—highly realistic fake media created by computers—proliferate, become more believable and easier to make,” says author Matthew F. Ferraro.  “As I discuss in this Backgrounder, deepfakes pose a myriad of dangers to politics, national security, economic security, and personal privacy.  It is incumbent on policymakers and a well-informed public to learn about this new media and potential countermeasures,” he adds.

“In this short backgrounder from NSI, Matt Ferraro primes us for the next phase in this budding age of disinformation—the deepfake,” said John Lipsey, Director of Policy at NSI.  “Expanding, improving, and becoming more accessible at exponential rates, deepfakes are poised to inject a new and disruptive force, demanding the attention of policymakers and private sector leaders alike to give Americans the tools they need to navigate through this pending hall-of-mirrors reality,” Lipsey added.


The paper is available here.

Matthew F. Ferraro’s bio can be found here.

About the National Security InstituteThe National Security Institute serves as a platform for research, teaching, scholarship, and policy development that incorporates a realistic assessment of the threats facing the United States and its allies, as well as an appreciation of the legal and practical challenges facing U.S. intelligence, defense, law enforcement, homeland security, and cybersecurity communities.  NSI draws on the experience of its fellows, as well as its highly distinguished advisory board and faculty, to produce timely research and policy materials that deliver insightful analysis and actionable recommendations to senior policymakers in the White House and key departments and agencies, as well as those on Capitol Hill.

About George Mason
George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 33,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states.  Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility.

About the Scalia Law School
The Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University is defined by three words: Learn. Challenge. Lead. Students receive an outstanding legal education (Learn), are taught to critically evaluate prevailing orthodoxy and pursue new ideas (Challenge), and, ultimately, are well prepared to distinguish themselves in their chosen fields (Lead).  It has been one of America’s top-ranked law schools for the last fifteen years.