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School employee arrested after principal shares racist deepfake

  • A high school athletic director was arrested after a deepfake of the school’s principal was shared online.
  • The deepfake recording impersonated Eric Eiswert making racist and anti-Semitic remarks.
  • Local authorities have called for changes to the law to protect against the misuse of AI technology.

Dazhon Darien, a Maryland high school athletic director, was arrested and charged with stalking and theft after an AI a fake audio recording of the school principal, which contained racist remarks, was shared online.

The recording, which was posted on social media in January, was widely distributed and people were led to believe it was Eric Eiswert’s voice, local police reported.

Eiswert is the principal of Pikesville High School, a suburb of Baltimore.

The deepfake audio included a tirade against black students, which led to Eiswert being flooded with threats, according to the New York Times.

“It is believed that Mr. Darien, who was the athletic director at Pikesville High School, made the recording in revenge against Mr. Eiswert, who at the time was conducting an investigation into possible mismanagement of school funds. “school,” police said in a statement shared online. .

Darien faces charges of stalking, theft, disrupting school operations and retaliating against a witness.

He was released on bail $5,000 after a court appearance Thursday.

AI deepfakes are a growing concern

Police used forensic analysis to determine the recording was made using AI.

“Based on an extensive investigation, detectives now have conclusive evidence that the recording was not authentic. As part of their investigation, detectives requested a forensic analyst under contract with the FBI to analyze recording,” police said.

Authorities said at a news conference that the case would be one of the first of its kind in the country. And they are calling for changes to the law to update it with new technologies.

“This will likely require us to review laws at the state and federal level to ensure that this new technology, and those to come, cannot be used in a way that harms individuals and our communities,” said Johnny Olszewski, Baltimore County Executive.

Deepfakes are becoming more prevalent as advances in AI open up new ways for businesses and individuals to be exposed to malicious actors.

There are concerns about new ways these deepfakes can be manipulated in the workplace. A Hong Kong company was scammed out of $25 million after scammers targeted an employee using deepfakes of his senior colleagues. The FBI also warned that more people are using technology to pretend to be someone else in job interviews.

There are also concerns that AI deepfakes could threaten free and fair elections as it becomes easier for people to spread misinformation.

Earlier this year, some New Hampshire voters received fake calls from what they thought was Joe Biden telling them not to vote in the presidential primary election. The White House wants to “cryptographically verify” Joe Biden’s videos so viewers don’t confuse real videos with deepfakes.


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