Brainbox scholars offer submission to Justice Committee Inquiry

The Justice Committee has released a call for submissions on its Inquiry into the 2017 General Election and 2016 Local Elections. The Inquiry will investigate:

“… on the specific issue of how New Zealand can protect its democracy from inappropriate foreign interference …”


Mr Curtis Barnes and Mr Tom Barralough, research fellows, have made submission on behalf of the Brainbox Institute.

The substance of their submission speaks to the Committee’s second specific concern:

“the risk that political campaigns based through social media can be made to appear as though they are domestic but are in fact created or driven by external entities”

Mr Barnes and Mr Barraclough are lead researchers on the Perception Inception Project, which investigates emerging synthetic audiovisual media technologies. Part of this has included developing an understanding of the deceptive potential of these technologies, and their capacity for use by external entities to influence domestic politics.

The researchers are also author’s of a forthcoming chapter on the growing impacts of synthetic media technologies in international security, to be published in an edited collection on artificial intelligence and strategic studies.

In the course of the Project, the researchers have consulted with industry leaders responsible for both creating and detecting synthetic media, including researchers from DARPA’s “Media Forensics” program.

The submissions emphasise New Zealand’s need for preparedness in the near-future.