Experts say French legislation not enough to curb fake news or false information, the problem will only be aggravated by the development of increasingly specialized technologies as more undemocratic states realize the potential of these tools.
“The European elections are a major challenge and the risk is important, but the risk will only increase in all elections from now on as there are technologies that are developing that will make it increasingly difficult to identify the fake news or false information,” he said.
Marine Guillaume, a researcher and head of the “Cybersecurity and Digital Affairs” mission of the Center for Analysis, Forecasting and Strategy of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
At the conference “Inference and misinformation are on the horizon of European elections”, promoted by the delegation of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Paris and Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute, held today in the French capital, he said that “the model of production of this false information no longer is exclusive of Russia”.
“States begin to understand that it is not difficult to do this and that it does not take a big investment. We now have Iran, also China, and nothing prevents us from thinking that undemocratic actors will play an increasing role in this diffusion, “added the French researcher, noting other organizations such as the American right wing, terrorist organizations and the Mafia.
Also present at the conference, Ricardo Gutierrez, secretary-general of the European Federation of Journalists and a member of the European Commission’s Fake News High-Level Group, said that he had been with some young people who produced false information in Macedonia and that “it is something completely handmade and fabricated”.
The journalist said he was “disillusioned” with the European Commission’s think tank and that “the platforms did not take this process seriously”, which brought together several experts in Brussels and tried to cooperate closely with companies such as Facebook and Twitter and even Google, resulting in a code of conduct for the giants of Silicon Valley.
“It is not possible to have a law against counterfeit information because it can also be a form of censorship. One judge closes a ‘site’ and then another opens, that does not work. We advised the Commission not to enter into a logic of creating laws, the Commission accepted this, but unfortunately decided to rely on the platforms through a code of good conduct,” lamented Ricardo Gutierrez.
Nathalie Mallet-Poujol, a lecturer at the University of Montpellier and a specialist in Internet law, who also spoke at the conference, pointed out several problems with the law against information manipulation during the electoral period, which was approved in France at the end of last year and aims to combat false info.
The law in France indicates that in the three months before a ballot, there may be an emergency appeal to the courts to try to stop this kind of information.
“I was left with great doubts about the effectiveness of this measure. This is because the author of this false information is absent. Only the platform is legally responsible … And then the judges are asked to decide in a very short space, in a period where freedom of expression is even more important. It seems to me that this procedure is bound to fail, “said the lawyer.
Thus, the best way to stop the fake news, according to Gutierrez, “is good information”.
“The best answer to bad information is good information. On the side of institutions, we do not see much to support the media sector that was particularly affected by the same platforms that not only do not pay taxes but also disseminate this type of information with impunity. “