AI-generated robocalls are outlawed by the FCC
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AI-generated robocalls are outlawed by the FCC

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is looking to make the use of AI-generated voices in robocalls fundamentally illegal. While robocalls are generally disliked, the FCC aims to specifically address the issue of voice cloning technology, especially when it involves impersonating figures like President Biden.

Although robocalls are already illegal, some automated calls are considered necessary and lawful. It’s only when a call operation is suspected of breaking the law that authorities get involved. For instance, in the case of fake Biden calls in New Hampshire discouraging people from voting, the Attorney General there confidently labeled them as an “unlawful attempt to disrupt the election.”

To streamline the process of charging fraudsters behind such calls, the FCC wants to classify the use of voice cloning tech as inherently illegal under existing law. FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel explained that this move would provide State Attorneys General with new tools to combat scams and protect consumers.

The FCC currently relies on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to charge robocallers. While the TCPA already prohibits “artificial” voices, it’s unclear whether cloned voices fall into that category. The FCC proposes issuing a Declaratory Ruling stating that AI-powered voice cloning falls under the “artificial” heading, simplifying the legal basis for charging offenders.

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Despite the evolving landscape of telephone, messaging, and generative voice technology, the FCC recognizes the urgency to address the illegal use of voice cloning in robocalls. The proposal will undergo internal procedures and a vote among Commissioners before becoming public, according to FCC spokesman Will Wiquist.

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