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Safeguarding our elections crucial in 2024 – Farrell

Irish elections must be protected from deep fakes and malicious Artificial Intelligence use

28th December 2023 - Alan Farrell TD

Safeguarding our electoral process ahead of a busy electoral year has to be a priority for all, Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell has said.

Dublin Fingal East TD, and Fine Gael Justice Spokesperson, Alan Farrell, said in 2024 we will see referenda, European and local elections and a directly elected mayoral contest, which will have far reaching impacts on our domestic and international politics.


“It is therefore vital that we have systems in place to protect the integrity of election campaigns and the electoral process,” he said.


“We have seen many examples of misinformation and election interference in countries around the EU, and indeed around the world, in recent years. This has been compounded by an increase in groups around the world seeking to sow division and disinformation into other countries elections.”

Deputy Farrell continued, “Much of this activity is increasingly taking place in the online sphere, with conspiracy theories, hate, and abuse; seeking to create disharmony and stoke fear in our population and our communities on a range of issues. Social media companies in particular have a responsibility to uphold standards on their platforms and to act in a timely manner to tackle inappropriate behaviour when it occurs.

“Strong, effective and efficient content moderation mechanisms must be in place and ready to react, particularly when it comes to political advertising. Pervasive, insidious content must be stamped out, if we do not tackle it now we risk allowing this activity to proliferate, which poses a real-world risk to people’s safety.”

“We must also ready ourselves for the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which will pose a significant challenge to our fight against misinformation.

“Deep-fake videos and AI generated images can be incredibly difficult to identify as being fiction, the result of these videos and images, among other things, could potentially sway the result of an election, we have to put guardrails in place now, before a busy electoral year begins in earnest.

“It Is pivotal that this activity is countered, and that people are able to identify misinformation campaigns.

“The establishment of Coimisiun na Mean, will play a key role in monitoring compliance within the online sphere and in the media. There are already plans to double the number of staff in 2024 and this will be further important step in ensuring the resources are there to achieve efficiency.”

Deputy Farrell added, “With global uncertainty and extremism on the rise around the world, it is more important than ever that we protect our democratic processes, and to build a cybersecurity framework that is robust and prepared to defend our key institutions.

“We have only to look at our recent past to see the impact of large-scale cyberattacks such as those that targeted the HSE. People must have faith in our systems and that their beliefs and concerns will not be manipulated by nefarious actors at home or abroad.”

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