Google Cybersecurity Summit Sheds Light on Election Threats

Penka Hristovska
Penka Hristovska Senior Editor
Published on: May 22, 2024
Penka Hristovska Penka Hristovska
Published on: May 22, 2024 Senior Editor

Google’s Boulder campus this week served as the meeting point for cybersecurity experts nationwide, who gathered to tackle election security threats.

Among the company’s efforts to thwart cybersecurity threats to the 2024 presidential elections in the US is Google’s collaboration with Defending Digital Campaigns, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization whose aim is to raise awareness about potential threats and ways to combat them.

According to cybersecurity experts, one significant threat is deepfakes, which involve using artificial intelligence to create realistic but fake videos and audio recordings. These can mimic voices and manipulate video footage and the technology has become so advanced that even basic apps can now produce deepfakes that are difficult to distinguish from real footage.

“At the end of the day, it’s what users see, and it’s can you trust the content that you’re seeing and that’s what guides us in our mission,” said Karen Courington, Google’s Vice President of Trust and Safety.

This is why Google mandates that political advertisers disclose the use of deepfakes. The state of Colorado passed a bill that similarly requires all creators to disclose deepfakes or face a fine.

Google takes a more proactive approach, too, by using artificial intelligence to monitor for non-compliant ads that feature deepfakes and remove them.

Courington claims that the company is capable of quickly identifying the use of deepfakes in political ads “as well as prevent bad actors from coming on the platform in the first place.”

Google also developed tools to help users identify deepfakes.

“So for instance, if you Google an image, you can now click into that image to receive additional context on where that image has been used elsewhere on the internet. You can see when that image has been used. as well. For voters in particular, who are turning to Google for information about the elections process, we want them to be able to trust the information that they’re seeing,” Google’s global elections integrity lead, Thao Nguyen Kelly, explains.

The company is educating campaign and election workers, too, and making sure they have the right tools to fight potential cyber threats. So far, it’s trainer 9,000 campaign and election workers around the country in threat detection and protection strategies.

“As a company we’re thinking through these risks holistically, and that our processes, our policies, our products are ready to be able to address and mitigate any of those risks that may manifest for users,” says Nguyen Kelly.

“It’s a partnership. We know we can’t do it alone as a tech company. We know we need government, civil society, and other organizations,” Courington adds.

About the Author
Penka Hristovska
Penka Hristovska
Senior Editor
Published on: May 22, 2024

About the Author

Penka Hristovska is an editor at SafetyDetectives. She was an editor at several review sites that covered all things technology — including VPNs and password managers — and had previously written on various topics, from online security and gaming to computer hardware. She’s highly interested in the latest developments in the cybersecurity space and enjoys learning about new trends in the tech sector. When she’s not in “research mode,” she’s probably re-watching Lord of The Rings or playing DOTA 2 with her friends.

Leave a Comment