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FCC outlaws use of AI-generated voice in robocalls


February 14, 2024

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FCC outlaws use of AI-generated voice in robocalls

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has unanimously passed regulation banning telemarketers from using AI-generated voices in robocalls.

The decision, adopted Feb. 8, makes it illegal to employ voices generated using artificial intelligence in unsolicited marketing calls and enables State Attorneys General to take legal action against malicious robocalls.

“Bad actors are using AI-generated voices in unsolicited robocalls to extort vulnerable family members, imitate celebrities, and misinform voters,” FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said. “We’re putting fraudsters behind these robocalls on notice. State attorneys general will now have new tools to crack down on these scams and ensure the public is protected from fraud and misinformation.”

Under the new FCC rule, any telemarketers who want to use automatic telephone dialing systems and prerecorded or artificially generated voice messages when contacting consumers must obtain written consent before initiating a call.

Moreover, breaking the law could entail fines of up to $23,000 per call, and recipients of any robocall can also take legal action to obtain up to $1,500 for every unsolicited call they receive.

The ruling comes as the FCC investigates AI-generated robocalls targeting New Hampshire voters. According to the agency, consumers were targeted last month with prerecorded messages using the cloned voice of President Biden, who discouraged them from participating in the New Hampshire Primary.

The illegal robocall told recipients to “save your vote for the November election,” and “your vote makes a difference in November, not this Tuesday.”

“Ensuring public confidence in the electoral process is vital. AI-generated recordings used to deceive voters can potentially have devastating effects on the democratic election process,” New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella said.

Voice-cloning technologies aren’t just used in common robocall scams or misinformation campaigns. AI-generated voices are being used to target unwary internet users with a variety of scams on social media, including phony giveaways seemingly endorsed by Hollywood celebrities and other well-known public figures.

You can read more about voice-cloning scams on social media and how to protect yourself here.

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Alina is a history buff passionate about cybersecurity and anything sci-fi, advocating Bitdefender technologies and solutions. She spends most of her time between her two feline friends and traveling.

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