‘Sex videos do not appear to be altered’ – Aussie news report quotes experts

(Malaysiakini) – Australian media organisation, SBS News, has consulted several experts on the sex clips implicating Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali.

The report stated that although unable to confirm if the person in the video is indeed Azmin, the experts, however, agreed that there appeared to be no digital alteration.

“If it’s a deepfake, it’s a very good one,” said one of them, Kevin Nguyen.

According to SBS, Nguyen is a digital forensics expert who previously consulted and provided content verification for the BBC and the New York Times, and now works for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Following his analysis of the three clips, Nguyen said: “At an image level, forensically it checks out. I ran a number of forensic analysis… across the three videos and at the six points I checked, there was no evidence of photo or image manipulation.”

Drawing a similar conclusion was Professor Siwei Lyu from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Albany in the US.

“Barring the compression artifacts, there are no definite trace of deepfake algorithms, such as inconsistent face orientations, or ‘floating’ of faces,” he said.

SBS, a state-funded news outlet, described Siwei as an expert in deep learning and media forensics.

However, another expert Giorgio Patrini, CEO of Australian company Deeptrace, said the quality of the videos was too low for a conclusive analysis.

Patrini’s firm deals with authenticating deepfake videos.

“None of the analysts could confirm that Mr Azmin is the man in the video, they only concluded the video appears to not have been digitally altered,” read the report.

Expert: There are certain red flags

Meanwhile, another expert, University of Technology Sydney’s Denby Weller, said there were certain “red flags”.

“It’s been shot in portrait mode on a phone by the looks of it, although that look can be artificially created in post-production.

“It has also been shot from a slightly elevated position (the height of the camera is very hard to fake), which would indicate that the phone was pointing slightly downwards at the men,” she said.

Weller had trained in video verification with the Google News Initiative.

Azmin, who is also PKR deputy president, had described the videos, which were leaked by unknown individuals via WhatsApp, as a nefarious plot to ruin his political career.

This is after Santubong PKR Youth chief Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz confirmed he was the other man in the video indulging in sexual acts with the person resembling Azmin.

Haziq, who is being investigated for multiple offences, including carnal intercourse, also claimed that the man with him was Azmin and that the incident took place in the latter’s hotel room in Sandakan last month.

The police are in the process of determining if the clips are authentic.

Malaysiakini is contacting Azmin for his comment on the SBS report.

Afif: Why was the video put out?

In an immediate reaction, PKR assemblyperson Afif Bahardin told Malaysiakini that the party’s stand is to wait for the authorities to complete their investigations.

“What is more crucial to me is not just the video, but why the video is put out. I grew up with these issues of gutter politics since 1998. Whoever is behind the video definitely have a political agenda,” he added.

The Penang exco, who is known to be aligned to Azmin, rued that after two decades since PKR president Anwar Ibrahim was first accused of sodomy, the nation is still facing such issues.

“That is more worrying for me. Whoever is behind this should be brought to justice because otherwise there is no point of us changing the government in the last general election,” he added.

Azmin to meet cops soon

With regard to the ongoing investigations, Azmin’s political secretary Hilman Idham said the minister has directed his office to give priority to the police’s request for his statement to be recorded.

He said the police informed the minister’s office on Sunday that they are seeking an appointment to quiz him on the alleged sex scandal.

“We are discussing at the office because Azmin has ordered for this to be given priority.

“His schedule for today and tomorrow is packed and we are looking for a suitable time for this.

“But it will be either today or tomorrow,” he told reporters in Sepang, according to the Star.