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On episode eleven of the Trust Podcast, an SAP podcast about cybersecurity, trust and today’s landscape, SAP’s Chief Trust Officer Elena Kvochko was joined by Dana Rao, EVP, General Counsel, Chief Trust Officer, at Adobe.

They discussed how Adobe fosters trust in content as a content creation platform, the threat of deepfakes and Rao’s perspective on trust. 

Trust at Adobe

"I look at the trust officer as the perfect amalgamation of the experiences I've had." shared Rao.

Before becoming Chief Trust Officer at Adobe, Rao worked in different fields including engineering, public policy and law. These experiences gave him both the technical background and understanding of law and risk that help him become successful as Chief Trust Office.

Rao explains that while trust is a new area of focus for Adobe, the company has been around for 40 years and "one of the things [Adobe needs] to help [their] customers understand the value they are placing on trust even without realizing it.
"The reason they are choosing Adobe over another company that has reputational issues is because they feel like they can trust us to take care of their data." shared Rao.

That's why one of the priorities around trust is focused on sales enablement and messaging. "The sales teams should be provided with the data on what we are doing on trust and why this is helping [us] win in the marketplace." elaborates Rao. Then the second priority on the technical side is about security. Dana shared  "detecting vulnerabilities and addressing them before the product even reaches the customer so basically the vulnerability never causes any known problems."

Deepfakes and the Age of Misinformation

"It's important to Adobe and our culture that we are taking responsibility for innovation and address the problem that may be implicated by the technology we are creating." shared Rao.

Rao shared that his team has an understanding that Photoshop is the world's greatest media editing software program which means that right now the images people are able to to create on there are indistinguishable from a picture taken from a camera.
"There are two problems when deepfakes are created. There is the problem that people are getting deceived and the second problem which is just starting to emerge is people realizing they can't believe everything they are seeing - which leads to them believing nothing they are seeing including the truth." exclaims Rao.

How can issues with deepfakes be fixed? "We knew this issue created by AI was not going to be able to be solved with AI. The people creating the viruses are getting just as good as the people who are creating the detection system."

Instead, the team created the Content Authenticity Initiative. "It started with just us and the New York Times and Twitter and now over 900 companies have joined us in three years. The first thing you can do in Photoshop, if you choose to, is add content credentials to the image so that it can tracks what you do to the image as metadata. This way consumers and partners alike can look at an image and see if things are done to the image such as face swaps."

Future of Trust

"I think everyone needs trust." shared Rao.

He elaborated that " as a member of the executive team, whenever somebody asks me if we should do something, I ask what problem that would be solving."  It makes sense for all companies to establish trust office because "trust helps companies win in the marketplace". This helps convince stakeholders to invest in trust because businesses tend to invest in things that can help drive revenue.

In establishing a trust office, it is important to invest in the right workforce as well. Dana shared "There's two dimension to find the right candidates. I want experts in something whether that is compliance or privacy but just a background of being good at something. Trust is built in pillars and people should have a perspective from one of these pillars. Also if you are accomplished in your field then it is easier to trust you. The second thing that is important is that the person is flexible and curious as there will be things the person isn't an expert in but will need to learn - are they willing to learn it?"

Rao concludes the conversation with advice for companies that are considering establishing a trust office: "It's really important to thinking about what problem you are trying to solve and how you are helping the company move forward."

The full episode is available here.