The FCC is aiming to criminalize robocalls made by artificial intelligence. The announcement by the agency follows a robocall that targeted thousands of voters in New Hampshire using an AI voice that sounded like Joe Biden.
US officials are also being ready for the possibility that AI would facilitate the spread of disinformation during the 2024 election.
It would make “voice cloning technology used in common robocall scams targeting consumers illegal,” according to the FCC, who is proposing to make AI-generated calls illegal under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
“The FCC has issued a news release on Wednesday stating that the incidence of these calls has been on the rise in recent years due to the fact that this technology can now deceive consumers by mimicking the voices of famous people, political candidates, and even close relatives,” the agency stated.
“The Federal Communications Commission is taking this action to empower state attorneys general with additional resources to combat malicious robocalls and ensure that those responsible are held legally accountable,” the statement read.
Enacted in 1991, the TCPA governs robocalls and telemarketing calls to curb unwanted calls. Conservative activists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman were charged with conducting a voter suppression operation in the 2020 election, and it was utilized in their case as part of an anti-robocall crackdown.
Wohl and Burkman were fined $5 million by the FCC for their campaign, which was a record-breaking sum for that period. According to a CNN report earlier this week, Democrats in the House have proposed a comprehensive rewrite of the nation’s robocall regulations in response to robocalls created by artificial intelligence.
The robocall blocking provider YouMail believes that the number of robocalls received in the US reached a peak of approximately 58.5 billion in 2019. This time last year, it was more like 55 billion.
Some lawmakers saw last week’s bogus robocall—which imitated Biden and urged voters not to participate in the New Hampshire primary—as the first shot in what they predicted would be a disinformation-filled election season.
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