“Half the Truth is Often a Great Lie”: Deep Fakes, Open Source Information, and International Criminal Law

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Alexa Koenig
Publication Date
August 19, 2019
Publication Type
Journal Article
International Criminal Law, Open Source Investigations, Technology


This essay discusses how digital content derived from open sources is impacting the practice of international criminal law, expanding the role that non-state actors such as human rights NGOs play in locating, preserving, verifying, and analyzing online visual imagery. These actors use information and communication technologies to send videos and photographs directly to human rights organizations and courts, and compile information that has been posted to social media sites like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook with the goal of seeing that data used in court. The essay also asks how international lawyers should prepare for the coming storm of deep fakes, especially when they are only just beginning to mainstream the use of open source videos to document international crimes. The essay proposes several strategies, ranging from working cross-disciplinarily to systematically analyzing contextual information.