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The Paper explores the problem of fake news and disinformation campaigns in the turmoil era of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The Author addresses the problem from the perspective of Crime Science, identifying the actual and potential impact of fake news propagation on both the social fabric and the work of the law-enforcement and security services. The Author covers various vectors of disinformation campaigns and offers the overview of challenges associated with the use of deep fakes and the abuse of Artificial Intelligence, Machine-, Deep- and Reinforcement-Learning technologies. The Paper provides the outline of preventive strategies that might be used to mitigate the consequences of fake news proliferation, including the introduction of counter-narratives and the use of AI as countermeasure available to the law-enforcement and public safety agencies. The Author also highlights other threats and forms of crime leveraging the pandemic crisis. As the Paper deals with the current and rapidly evolving phenomenon, it is based on qualitative research and uses the most up-to-date, reliable open-source information, including the Web-based material.


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Author Biography

KACPER GRADOŃ, University of Warsaw

Kacper Gradon is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law and Director of the Centre for Forensic Sciences at the University of Warsaw (Poland). He is also the UCL Honorary Senior Research Associate at the Department of Security and Crime Science and Visiting Fulbright Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder – Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. His research expertise includes multiple homicide, criminal analysis and counter-terrorism. His current research deals with the application of Open Source Intelligence and digital & Internet forensics and analysis to forecasting and combating cyber-enabled crime and terrorism (including fake news and disinformation campaigns). He has 20 years of experience of consultancy and cooperation with Police and Intelligence services in Poland, UK, US and Canada. Graduate of the London Metropolitan Police Specialist Operations Training of Hostage Negotiations, the National Cyber-Forensics Training Alliance and the FBI “Dark Web Investigations” and the International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts “Open Source Intelligence” courses. Lectured and held visiting professorship positions in the UK, USA, Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Botswana, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain and Germany. Participated in over 200 academic and Police conferences and events worldwide. He was the UoW Primary Investigator in the 2014-2017 European Commission FP7 project PRIME (Preventing, Interdicting and Mitigating Extremist Events) dealing with lone-actor extremism and terrorism.


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