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Updated February 9th, 2024 at 12:28 IST

US bans AI voice in robocalls after Biden deep fake in New Hampshire

While robocall scams were already prohibited under the TCPA, the new ruling extends the ban to include "voice cloning technology" used in these scams.

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FCC on AI voice: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided to outlaw the use of artificial intelligence-generated voices in robocalls, to combat fraudulent telemarketing practices in the United States.

In a statement released on February 8, the FCC announced the unanimous adoption of a Declaratory Ruling, recognising calls made with AI-generated voices as ‘artificial’ under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This ruling provides State Attorneys General with new tools to prosecute individuals responsible for these deceptive robocalls.

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The FCC's action follows a recent incident in New Hampshire where residents received fake voice messages impersonating US President Joe Biden, urging them not to participate in the state's primary election.

While robocall scams were already prohibited under the TCPA, the new ruling extends the ban to include "voice cloning technology" used in these scams. Effective immediately, the FCC's decision aims to protect consumers from unwanted and misleading communications.

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FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel underlined the need to combat fraudulent robocalls, noting that bad actors exploit AI-generated voices to extort vulnerable individuals, impersonate celebrities, and disseminate misinformation.

The FCC's proposal to outlaw AI robocalls was first introduced on January 31, aligning with the TCPA's objective of safeguarding consumers from intrusive telemarketing practices.

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The ruling mandates that telemarketers must obtain written consent from consumers before using AI-generated voices in robocalls, ensuring compliance with existing regulations.

The FCC highlighted the proliferation of AI-backed robocalls in recent years, warning of the potential for confusion and misinformation among consumers. By targeting the use of AI technology in robocalls, law enforcement can now pursue scammers solely for employing AI-generated voices.

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In a related development, the alleged perpetrator behind the Biden robocall scam has been identified as a Texas-based firm called Life Corporation and an individual named Walter Monk. The Election Law Unit has issued a cease-and-desist order to Life Corporation for violating New Hampshire statutes, signalling a crackdown on fraudulent telemarketing practices.

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Published February 9th, 2024 at 12:28 IST

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