CEP Senior Advisor and a leading expert on digital forensics Dr. Hany Farid was interviewed by National Public Radio (NPR) about tech companies’ failure to prevent the reuploading of the New Zealand attack video.
NPR: A leading expert in anti-terror technology is calling on Facebook to suspend live video in the wake of the New Zealand massacre. The suspect had streamed the shooting live on Facebook, and from there, it was shared hundreds of thousands of times, even after New Zealand police alerted the company. After Facebook removed the video, users attempted to upload it again in various forms about 1.5 million times. Of those attempts, 300,000 slipped through the cracks. That's a 1 in 5 failure rate.
FARID: The repeated uploading is an absolute failure, and it is inexcusable because we have the technology to stop it. And if your technology isn't working, well, then you haven't innovated enough. You can't claim this is a hard problem. It's the same video. It's the same video. How can this be this hard of a problem? I simply don't buy that argument.
NPR: Farid, an incoming professor at the University of California at Berkeley, worked with Microsoft 10 years ago to create Photo DNA, a tool that tech giants rely on to fingerprint digital content. The algorithms have evolved, so a photo video or audio clip can be fingerprinted and automatically blocked even when it's been modified. Facebook says they used automated technology, but the video was recut and rerecorded into formats that made it harder to match copies. Farid says this excuse rings hollow. It's a common problem, and tech giants have had a decade to solve it.
FARID: Haven't figured out that problem yet, I think, says a lot about your priorities at these companies. It's simply not your priority.
NPR: The U.S. Congress and European regulators have relied on Farid to fact-check the tech giants. He says political leaders should launch an inquiry and insist on honest answers in this recent Facebook failure, which he compares to another public safety debacle - Boeing.
FARID: There was a global outcry. We grounded planes. We stopped until we got answers to secure that.
To listen to the NPR interview with Dr. Farid, please click here.