David Cameron falls victim to hoax call and messages 'from ex-president of Ukraine'

8 June 2024, 13:13

David Cameron has been subjected to a hoax call and messages
David Cameron has been subjected to a hoax call and messages . Picture: Alamy

By Charlie Duffield

Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron has been the victim of a hoax video call and messages from someone who claimed to be a former president of Ukraine.

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In an attempt to avert any potential manipulation of the video footage of Lord Cameron from the communications, the government has publicised what happened.

A statement from the Foreign Office said a "number of text messages were exchanged followed by a brief video call between the Foreign Secretary and someone purporting to be Petro Poroshenko, former president of Ukraine".

Mr Poroshenko was Ukrainian president between 2014 and 2019, and is still a prominent figure in the country despite leaving office.

The statement added: "Whilst the video call clearly appeared to be with Mr Poroshenko, following the conversation the Foreign Secretary became suspicious.

"Contact details for others were requested and, given his concerns, the Foreign Secretary stopped responding.

"The department has now investigated and confirmed that it was not genuine and that the messages and video call were a hoax.

"We are making this public in case the video of the Foreign Secretary is manipulated and subsequently used, and to ensure that others are aware of this risk."

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Explaining why the statement had been released, the Foreign Office said manipulation of the "information environment is becoming ever more present".

"Whilst regretting his mistake, the Foreign Secretary thinks it important to call out this behaviour and increase efforts to counter the use of misinformation," it added.

Politicians have received repeated warnings in recent months about the growing threat of misinformation and disinformation, especially as artificial intelligence (AI) technology improves.

Only earlier this week, broadcasters warned that on election day, channels will not be able to warn viewers about deepfakes and misinformation.

ITN chief executive Rachel Corp warned that "we're going to be flooded" with AI-created propaganda in the run-up to polling day.

It's not uncommon for ministers to be targeted by hoaxes.

For example, in 2018, former secretary Boris Johnson discussed international relations and rude poetry with a hoax caller who impersonated the Armenian prime minister.

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