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Philippines Bans Use of AI Apps in Military Due to Security Risks

The Philippines has prohibited its military and defense personnel from using artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled applications due to security risks.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. issued a memorandum earlier this month amid the prevalence of AI mobile apps that generate personal portraits in the country.

According to the official, one trending digital app requires users to submit at least 10 photos to generate an enhanced portrait, but they first need to grant permission to access their phone gallery.

mobile app
A mobile app popular in the Philippines asking permission to access a phone gallery to generate enhanced portraits using artificial intelligence

Teodoro said such an action poses significant privacy and security risks to military service members, which could lead to identity theft, phishing attacks, and other malicious activities.

He further claimed that there has already been a report of such a case, though he did not provide specific details.

“All [defense] and [military] personnel are directed to refrain from using AI photo generator applications, and practice vigilance in sharing information online,” the defense chief wrote in the memo.

“Ensure that your actions are aligned to the department’s values and are in adherence to existing policies.”

Increasing Information Warfare Threats

Teodoro’s announcement comes as the Philippines continues to face serious threats in cyberspace.

Earlier this month, the websites of the country’s House of Representatives and the Senate were targeted by cyberattacks.

It also reported a ransomware attack on Manila’s top government health insurance agency.

According to cybersecurity expert and former Philippine soldier Ashley Acedillo, the move to ban AI-enabled apps in the military was “necessary” and “timely.”

He warned those who sign up to AI applications and accept their terms about basically allowing the apps to conduct “unlimited surveillance and monitoring” of users.

“If somebody can create a fake video of a person having access to sensitive material, confidential matters, that’s a major concern,” Acedillo told BenarNews.

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