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Blockchain Technology as a Technique for Combating Artificial Intelligence Deepfake and Protect identify theft of Video/Image Integrity

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) has given rise to deepfake technology, a sophisticated technique of creating fake videos or images that are near indistinguishable from the real ones. These can be used to impersonate individuals, manipulate conversations, or twist the context of events. This poses a significant threat to video/image integrity and can lead to identity theft. Malevolent actors can misuse these deepfake videos or images, creating counterfeit identities or spreading misinformation, thereby undermining data privacy and manipulating public opinion. Consequences can be severe, ranging from personal defamation to political scandals. Hence, there is an imperative need for robust security measures to combat these AI-produced deepfakes and protect against identity theft.

The impact of deepfakes on video/image integrity is profound. They compromise the authenticity of digital content, making it nearly impossible to distinguish real from fake. Deepfakes can alter the narrative of an event, distort the actions of individuals, and falsify visual evidence. The implications are far-reaching, affecting everything from criminal justice cases, where video evidence might be deemed untrustworthy, to journalism, where the credibility of video reports comes into question. Moreover, in an era where visual content holds significant sway over public opinion, deepfakes pose a serious threat to the democratic process, potentially being used to spread disinformation or influence elections. Protecting video/image integrity against these malicious AI-generated fakes is a pressing concern.

Current Scenario

The rise of deepfakes on social media platforms has exacerbated the challenges associated with maintaining image and video integrity. Social media platforms, with their wide reach and quick information dissemination, are becoming hotbeds for the distribution of deepfake content. This content can go viral in a matter of minutes, making the job of fact-checkers and authenticity verifiers increasingly difficult. Moreover, these platforms are often used as primary news sources by many, further amplifying the potential impact of deepfake-driven misinformation. This underscores the need for effective solutions to identify and combat deepfakes on social media platforms.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools and systems, despite their transformative potential, come with their share of threats and consequences. One of the most significant threats is misuse of AI to create deepfake videos or images that can distort truth, manipulate public opinion, and facilitate identity theft. The appropriation of personal images or videos, without consent, to create deepfakes can severely infringe upon a person’s privacy rights. This not only raises ethical concerns but also legal issues related to data privacy and copyright enforcement.

Moreover, the use of AI systems in areas such as autonomous vehicles or smart cities, without proper security measures, can lead to catastrophic consequences. These systems can be hacked, causing widespread disruption and endangering lives. In business, AI tools can be exploited to create new, deceptive business models, tricking consumers and disrupting markets.

Another concern is the potential for AI systems to perpetuate and amplify bias. If these systems are trained on skewed or biased data, they can embed these biases in their outputs, leading to unfair and discriminatory outcomes.

The consequences of these threats are far-reaching. From personal damage, such as identity theft and defamation, to societal harm, like the spread of misinformation and erosion of trust in digital content, the threats posed by AI tools and systems necessitate robust and comprehensive security measures.

Understanding Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across an entire network of computer systems on the blockchain. Each block in the chain contains a number of transactions, and every time a new transaction occurs on the blockchain, a record of that transaction is added to every participant’s ledger.

The decentralized database managed by multiple participants is known as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). Blockchain is one type of a DLT, which maintains transaction data in a decentralized form across multiple locations, ensuring transparency and eliminating the need for trust.

Blockchains are secure by design and exemplify a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault tolerance. This makes blockchains potentially suitable for the recording of events, medical records, identity management, transaction processing, and documenting provenance, among other things.

In the context of a blockchain transaction, it involves the transfer of units (often a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin) between parties, validated by a decentralized network of nodes, recorded in a public ledger and visible for all participants. Each transaction is cryptographically signed by the sender (with their private key), and a network of so-called miners approve and record the transaction on the blockchain, making it unalterable. Once a transaction is recorded, it can’t be altered or deleted, thereby providing a definite and verifiable record of each and every transaction.

The transparent nature of blockchain technology, combined with its robust security measures, is what makes it particularly appealing in a variety of sectors. Transparency is ensured as every transaction on the blockchain is visible to all participants in the network, enhancing accountability and reducing the chances of fraudulent activity. On the security front, blockchain transactions are secured using cryptographic techniques which make it extremely difficult to alter or delete any recorded transaction. This level of security and transparency can provide a powerful tool against the threats posed by artificial intelligence systems, such as deepfakes, by enabling the authentication of digital content and safeguarding against unauthorized manipulations.

Blockchain’s Role in Combating Deepfake

Blockchain technology can play a vital role in ensuring the transparency and integrity of digital content against manipulation by deepfakes. By creating an immutable ledger of digital content, blockchain provides a way to verify the origin and authenticity of a digital asset. When a piece of content, such as a video or image, is created, it can be timestamped and added to the blockchain. This creates a verifiable record of the content’s creation, making it possible to trace its origins. Any subsequent modifications to the content would require a new block to be added to the chain, making unauthorized alterations easy to spot. This process can help to maintain the integrity of digital content and provide transparency to all users. Furthermore, the decentralization of blockchain technology eliminates the need for a central authority, instead allowing all users to verify the content independently, thereby increasing trust and security in the digital realm.

Blockchain technology might give rise to innovative business models for content creation and copyright enforcement. A notable application could be the use of smart contracts for automated royalty payments, ensuring creators receive their dues without the need for intermediaries. Blockchain could also enable a decentralized marketplace for digital assets, where creators can sell their work directly to consumers, promoting a more equitable distribution of revenue.

From a copyright enforcement perspective, blockchain could serve as a public registry of intellectual property rights. By storing copyright information on an immutable ledger, it becomes straightforward to verify ownership and tackle infringement efficiently. In the event of a dispute, the blockchain could provide irrefutable evidence of ownership and creation date.

By harnessing blockchain’s transparency, immutability, and decentralized nature, these new business models could revolutionize the content creation industry, ensuring creators are duly rewarded for their efforts and their intellectual property rights are protected.

Case Studies

The New York Times’ “The News Provenance Project” offers an excellent example of blockchain’s success in maintaining video integrity. Launched to combat misinformation in the media, the project uses blockchain to provide transparent metadata for news photographs and videos, allowing consumers to verify the source and alterations made to the digital content.

Another successful implementation is by the startup DeepTrust Alliance. They use blockchain technology to combat deepfakes by creating a digital fingerprint of all online content. This fingerprint or hash is then stored on a blockchain, allowing for easy verification of the content’s authenticity and integrity.

Lastly, the video platform YouNow uses blockchain technology for its PROPS Project, providing a transparent system for rewarding content creators. As videos are created and shared on the platform, they are inscribed onto the blockchain, providing a clear, immutable record of the content and its origins.

The potential for blockchain integration in smart cities and contracts is vast and promising. Smart cities, by leveraging blockchain technology, can develop a decentralized, efficient, and secure framework for managing urban services like utilities, traffic control, waste management, and citizen services. Blockchain could ensure the integrity and transparency of data exchanged between various city services, fostering a more reliable and responsive urban environment.

In the realm of smart contracts, blockchain can be a game-changer. Smart contracts are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement directly written into code. They automatically execute transactions and agreements without needing a third party. Blockchain’s immutable and transparent nature makes it the ideal platform for deploying these contracts, ensuring that transactions are executed precisely as coded. This can significantly reduce the friction associated with traditional contract enforcement, such as dependency on intermediaries, and reduce vulnerability to fraud or manipulation.

Overall, the utilization of blockchain technology within smart cities and contracts holds the potential to boost efficiency, promote accountability, and enhance security, paving the way for a more inter-connected and autonomous future.


In conclusion, blockchain technology offers a secure and transparent framework for recording transactions and digital content. It has shown significant promise in combating the threat of deepfakes by providing a means to verify digital content’s origin and integrity. Innovative business models rooted in blockchain have the potential to revolutionize content creation, copyright enforcement, and even the management of urban services in smart cities. Blockchain’s unique features of transparency, immutability, and decentralization can help foster a more secure and efficient digital environment. These benefits are clearly demonstrated in successful case studies such as The New York Times’ “The News Provenance Project”, DeepTrust Alliance, and YouNow’s PROPS project. Finally, the use of blockchain in smart contracts can automate and secure transactions, reducing dependency on intermediaries and vulnerability to fraud.

As we navigate an increasingly digital age, the threat of AI deepfakes and integrity breaches of visual media is a growing concern. Blockchain technology presents a robust solution to these challenges. It enables us to timestamp and authenticate the origin of digital content, making unauthorized alterations immediately identifiable. The decentralized nature of blockchain ensures transparency and eliminates the need for central authority verification. In a world where AI-generated deepfakes could potentially cause misinformation and mistrust, blockchain serves as a beacon of security and authenticity. It has the potential not only to protect creators and their intellectual property but also to safeguard the sanity and trust of consumers in the digital content they interact with.

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Please contact Arlen Olsen at Schmeiser, Olsen & Watts LLP at

About the Author

Mr. Olsen, a former adjunct professor of intellectual property law, has over 25 years of experience in all aspects of intellectual property law. Mr. Olsen is a founding Partner of Schmeiser, Olsen & Watts LLP and a former United States Patent Examiner. Mr. Olsen has prosecuted numerous patents that have been litigated and received damages in excess of $60 million dollars. Additional activities include teaching seminars and appearing as a guest lecturer on intellectual property matters for corporations and educational institutions and evaluating and consulting with clients regarding the scope, enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights.