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UK Foreign Secretary Cameron held video call with Poroshenko impersonator

by Nate Ostiller June 8, 2024 11:55 AM 2 min read
U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron speaks to a reporter outside St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 2, 2024. (Thomas Peter / POOL / AFP via Getty Images)
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U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron held a video call with someone impersonating former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, the BBC and other media outlets reported on June 7, citing comments from the U.K.'s Foreign Office.

Bolstered by the advent of new technology, deep-fakes and impersonations of public figures have become commonplace in recent years.

An investigation by the Kyiv Independent in January revealed that a suspected Russian disinformation group had also posed as Poroshenko in doctored video-calls, with the apparent aim of sowing distrust toward President Volodymyr Zelensky.

A foreign office spokesperson said that Cameron had also exchanged messages with the individual, but ended his communications after the conversation became "suspicious." The foreign office decided to make it public to allay concerns that the communication could be "manipulated."

"Whilst regretting his mistake, (Cameron) thinks it important to call out this behavior and increase efforts to counter the use of misinformation," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson did not specify what Cameron spoke about with the individual, when the call occurred, or how the individual was able to directly communicate with Cameron in the first place.

There was also no information provided about the individual's identity or if they were linked to any other actors.

Poroshenko served as president from 2014 to 2019, and remains a member of Ukraine's parliament.

NYT: Russian disinformation campaign targeting Paris Olympics, experts say
″(The hackers) are trying to cultivate an anticipation of violence,” said Clint Watts, the head of Microsoft’s Digital Threat Analysis Center, in comments to the New York Times.

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