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FCC Deems AI-Generated Robocalls Illegal
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In a significant move, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) declared calls made with AI-generated voices illegal. This decision came in response to a recent incident where a fake robocall mimicking President Joe Biden, aimed to dissuade voters from supporting him in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary election.

New Tools for State Attorneys General

FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel emphasized that the declaratory ruling equips state attorneys general with enhanced tools to pursue the entities responsible for such robocalls. Rosenworcel condemned the exploitation of AI-generated voices by malicious actors for purposes ranging from extorting vulnerable individuals to impersonating celebrities and spreading misinformation among voters.

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Targeting the Root: Using AI for Voice Generation

Previously, state attorneys general could address the consequences of unwanted AI-voice-generated robocalls. However, the FCC’s latest action prohibits using AI technology to generate voices for robocalls, marking a significant legal development in combating this form of digital deception.

Investigations and Cease-and-Desist Measures

Following the discovery of the fake Biden robocall traced back to Texas-based Life Corp, New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella has taken swift action. A cease-and-desist letter has been issued to the company, led by Walter Monk, and a criminal investigation is underway to hold accountable those responsible for the illicit calls.

Amplifying Voter Suppression Concerns

Democratic FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks highlighted the amplified threat of voter suppression schemes due to the emergence of generative AI technology. The increased believability of fake robocalls, enabled by voice cloning, poses a severe risk during campaign seasons and democratic processes.

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Precedent and Penalties

This ruling builds upon previous FCC actions, such as the $5.1 million fine imposed on conservative activists in 2023. These activists were found guilty of orchestrating over 1,100 illegal robocalls before the 2020 U.S. election. The calls disseminated false information to discourage voters from utilizing mail-in ballots by misleadingly suggesting potential consequences related to personal information security and law enforcement involvement.

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