Bobby Chesney, Strauss Center Director and James Baker Professor in Law, recently published an article on Lawfare in response to Facebook’s new deepfake policy, which he regards as an insufficient, albeit welcome, development. Chesney defines deepfakes as “realistic-looking video or audio falsehoods, which show real people doing or saying things they never did or said,” which are generated using artificial intelligence or machine learning technology. After citing some recent examples of political deepfake controversies, Chesney puts forth his two primary critiques of Facebook’s new policy. First, while the policy bans manipulated audio and videos which show people saying something which they never said (excluding parody and satire), it does not ban audio or video portraying individuals doing something they never did, such as an obscene gesture. Second, the policy does not extend to “cheapfakes”—manipulated audio or video produced by less sophisticated means. Chesney regards this loophole as more troubling given the current political climate, as cheapfakes are easier to produce and therefore more abundant than deepfakes. Despite the policy’s many shortcomings, Chesney concludes by noting that Facebook’s attempt to regulate such complex content is heartening.

Read the full article here.

Moriba Jah, Program Lead of the Space Security and Safety (SSS) program at the Strauss Center, Director of the Advanced Sciences and Technology Research in Astronautics (ASTRIA) program, and Associate Professor of Aerospace engineering and Engineering Mechanics in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, recently published a graph tool which illustrates the orbits of 1500 satellites and space junk items.

Zoltan Barany, Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Centennial Professor of Government at the University of Texas and Distinguished Scholar at the Strauss Center, co-edited and published a collection of studies entitled “Security Sector Reform in Constitutional Transitions.

Dr. Mark Atwood Lawrence, Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar and Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin, was recently named the sixth director of the LBJ Presidential Library—a position he will assume on January 5, 2020. David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, noted in the announcement of Dr. Lawrence’s selection, that his “extensive knowledge of the 1960s, proven scholarship, and experience in museum design and planning” make Dr. Lawrence “uniquely qualified to lead this Library and Museum."

Intelligence Studies Project Senior Fellow J. Paul Pope recently reviewed David P. Oakley's "Subordinating Intelligence: The DoD/CIA Post-Cold War Relationship" in the Joint Forces Quarterly. Click here to read the review.