Philippine Armed Forces Ban Use of AI Applications for Personal Portraits

Service members in the Philippines armed forces have been prohibited from using artificial intelligence (AI) applications to create personal portraits due to growing security concerns.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. confirmed the military’s stance through an internal memo, cautioning all personnel about the risks associated with generative AI tools. The Department of National Defense revealed that there had been a troubling trend of individuals submitting multiple photographs of themselves to AI platforms to produce synthetic versions.

Teodoro emphasized that malicious actors could exploit AI-generated images to commit financial fraud against unsuspecting victims. He further emphasized that the use of such AI platforms by the country’s 163,000-member military has severe implications for national security.

As the Philippines strengthens its defense against communist insurgents and external aggression in the South China Sea, Teodoro urged military personnel to exercise caution when sharing information online.

“This seemingly harmless and amusing AI-powered application can be maliciously used to create fake profiles that can lead to identity theft, social engineering, phishing attacks, and other malicious activities,” Teodoro stated. “There has already been a report of such a case.”

Although AI apps are restricted for military personnel, other branches of the Philippines’ executive branch are embracing the technology. The country’s Justice Department has recently proposed using AI to combat human trafficking in airports, but concerns about traveler comfort still persist.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo also confirmed plans to incorporate AI into the Filipino legal system. Going forward, AI tools will be employed to record witness testimonies and provide customer care services to the public.

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Despite the positive reception from government agencies, requests to fund the establishment of a Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research (CAIR) in Laguna have been repeatedly denied by the legislature.

Early Attempts at AI Regulation

Recognizing the risks associated with widespread AI use, the University of the Philippines (UP) has initiated the development of a draft proposal for AI regulation. The university’s focus is on preventing the proliferation of deepfakes while also ensuring job security for Filipinos.

“It is crucial that UP, as the national university, plays its role in guiding the country in this new environment,” commented Johnrob Bantang, head of UP’s Computational Science Research Center.

In addition to safeguarding the copyrights of creatives and protecting consumer data, UP’s framework will build on its previous efforts to establish a sustainable framework for blockchain technology.

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By Team