Transatlantic Commission taps Aspen Tech Policy Hub fellows to fight deepfakes and disinformation

December 13, 2019

Aspen Tech Policy Hub members Erica Greene & Ora D. Tanner will join the TCEI as nonresident Election Integrity fellows

Contacts:
Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity
Olaf Böhnke, Senior Advisor
[email protected]
+49 177 7970394

Aspen Tech Policy Hub
Betsy Cooper, Director
[email protected]
+1 716 913 7073


December 13, 2019  –
The Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity (TCEI) and the Aspen Institute’s Tech Policy Hub, a training incubator teaching technologists how to engage in policy, are pleased to announce that two of the Hub’s members, Erica Greene & Ora D. Tanner, will join the TCEI as nonresident Election Integrity fellows. The Hub and TCEI collaborated earlier this year to have the Hub’s inaugural class of 15 fellows write memos on how to prevent deepfakes as part of their training program. This new collaboration directly draws from the ideas Greene and Tanner presented in their memos.

In their new role, Greene and Tanner will augment the TCEI’s work on disinformation and deepfakes. The two experts will develop formulas and policy recommendations on how to fight the threat of manipulated media ahead of the Copenhagen Democracy Summit in June 2020, on the occasion of the TCEI’s annual meeting.

During her fellowship, Erica Greene will focus on how digital platforms can design their products and services to mitigate the risk of malicious user-generated content – especially deepfakes – that would undermine democratic processes.

“It is a privilege to work with The Alliance of Democracies as an Election Integrity Fellow. I believe that the technical community needs to share in the responsibility of protecting the health of democracy around the world and I am impressed by the leadership the Alliance of Democracies has shown in bringing together technical experts and political leaders to jointly tackle one of the most complex and urgent threats to our democratic values,” Greene said.

Erica Greene is a software engineer based in New York City. She has previously worked at The New York Times, Etsy and Jigsaw. At the Aspen Tech Policy Hub, Greene she focused on the impact of language on tech policy debates.

Through her expertise as a research and instructional designer, Ora D. Tanner plans to improve disinformation literacy and prepare a concept of how democratic institutions and the general public can become more aware of the risks deepfakes pose to society.

“The transnational approach of the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity to find novel solutions, especially in its use of technology, to protect the integrity of elections is a cause I am honored to be a part of,” Tanner said.

Tanner is a doctoral researcher in Instructional Technology and Educational Measurement at the University of South Florida. She has an extensive background in the use of technologies such as digital games, online learning, animation, and augmented reality to help learners understand complex concepts in science.

TCEI Co-Chair Anders Fogh Rasmussen said about the program:

“I am very grateful that Ms. Greene and Ms. Tanner will help the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity to intensify its work in the upcoming months. Worryingly, many Western governments still possess an outdated idea of ‘fake news’, while current trends indicate that deepfake technology is ready to multiply the disastrous effects of election interference beyond imagination.”

TCEI Commissioner Eileen Donahoe – Executive Director of the Global Digital Policy Incubator at the Cyber Policy Center at Stanford University, and former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council, also expressed excitement for this partnership:

“With another wave of critical elections approaching, we need to quickly educate the public on the newest disinformation tactics. I am confident that our new Election Integrity Fellows – Ora Tanner and Erica Greene – will contribute to effectively fighting this new threat.”

Betsy Cooper, founding Executive Director of the Aspen Tech Policy Hub, said “It was an honor to have our inaugural class of fellows contribute to the TCEI’s work on deepfakes; that our fellows are now formally joining the Commission is just icing on the cake.”

The Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity is a transatlantic, bi-partisan group of political, technology, business and media leaders that seek to foster a more collective approach to preventing the next wave of election interference. The Commission’s work raises awareness of the risks, develops new technology tools, and identifies weaknesses and remedies in the policy response across Europe and the United States.

The Aspen Tech Policy Hub (@aspenpolicyhub), an initiative by the Aspen Institute in the United States, is a West Coast policy incubator, training a new generation of tech policy entrepreneurs. Modeled after tech incubators like Y Combinator, the Hub takes tech experts, teaches them the policy process through an in-residence fellowship program in the Bay Area, and encourages them to develop outside-the-box solutions to society’s problems.

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