Robocaller Who Used AI to Clone Biden's Voice Fined $6 Million
Credits: Image by Freepik

Robocaller Who Used AI to Clone Biden’s Voice Fined $6 Million

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A person who used voice-cloning technology to make illegal robocalls during the New Hampshire primary election pretending to be  President Biden could be fined $6 million by the FCC. It has less to do with AI and more to do with robocalls, but the agency is clearly using this to warn other people who might try to scam people with high-tech tools.

You may remember that in January, a lot of voters in New Hampshire got a call that they thought was from the president telling them not to vote in the primary. Of course, this was fake. It was a voice copy of  President Biden made with technology that has become more common in the last few years.

It’s been possible to make a fake voice for a long time, but generative AI platforms have made it very easy. Dozens of services offer cloned voices with few rules or checks. With just a minute or two of Biden’s speeches, which are, of course, easy to find online, you can easily make your own Biden voice. The FCC and several law enforcement agencies have made it clear that you can’t use that fake Biden to scare people into voting by calling them on illegal robocalls.

Legal and Enforcement Actions

In a press release, Loyaan Egal, head of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, said, “We will act swiftly and decisively to ensure that bad actors cannot use U.S. telecommunications networks to facilitate the misuse of generative AI technology to interfere with elections, defraud consumers, or compromise sensitive data,”

Although Steve Kramer was the main criminal, he used the sketchy Life Corporation (which had been charged with illegal robocalls) and the calling services of the sketchy telecom Lingo, also known as Americatel,  Clear Choice Communications, Matrix Business Technologies, Startec Global Communications, Trinsic Communications , Impact Telecom, Excel Telecommunications, VarTec Telecom, and BullsEyeComm. It looks like Kramer is breaking a few rules, but as of right now, he or his helpers are not being charged with a crime. As an expert agency, the FCC can only do so much on their own. They need to work with local or federal law enforcement to back up their decisions about who is responsible.

That $6 million fine is more of a goal or ceiling. Like with the FTC and others, the actual amount paid is often much less for many reasons, but it’s still a big amount of money. Next, Kramer needs to respond to the accusations. At the same time, separate actions are being taken against Lingo, or whatever they call themselves now that they’ve been caught again. They may get fines or lose their licences. It became illegal to use AI-generated voices in robocalls in February, after the case above raised the question of whether they were truly “artificial.” The FCC made the sensible decision that they are, as they clearly stated.

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