- Federal Communications Commission hopes to stop scams and misinformation
- ‘We are putting the scammers behind these robocalls on notice,’ FCC chairman said
Fraudulent and unwanted robocalls featuring realistic human voices generated by AI are now officially illegal, according to a unanimous ruling by the Federal Communications Commission.
The new ruling, issued today, promises to give “state attorneys general across the country new tools to pursue the bad actors behind these nefarious robocalls.”
“Bad actors are using AI-generated voices in unsolicited robocalls to extort vulnerable family members, impersonate celebrities, and misinform voters,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a news release.
“We are calling out the scammers behind these robocalls.”
Following the new ruling, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel (above) said, “We are putting the scammers behind these robocalls on notice.”
“State Attorneys General will now have new tools to combat these scams and ensure the public is protected from fraud and misinformation,” Rosenworcel saying.
The FCC ruling will expand the activities that prosecutors can conduct under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which is currently the main law that allows authorities to help limit spam calls.
But the FCC also said it is pursuing its own use cases for AI, employing pattern recognition software in an effort to recognize illegal robocalls “before they reach consumers over the phone.”
The FCC has been investigating the issue since last November, when it released a Notice of Investigation to investigate the extent to which sophisticated artificial intelligence tools are being deployed in illegal robocalls and what new policies could help stem the tide.
Following today’s ruling, the federal agency noted that these types of telephone scams have been on the rise in recent years.
The FCC ruling will expand the activities that U.S. state prosecutors and attorneys general can conduct under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which is currently the primary law allowing law enforcement to help limit calls. trash.
“This technology now has the potential,” the FCC said in a statement, “to confuse consumers with misinformation by mimicking the voices of celebrities, political candidates, and close family members.”
Prior to today’s ruling, U.S. Attorneys General had only been authorized to retroactively pursue less digital or less virtual crimes (such as extortion or voter suppression) after these schemes had progressed beyond robocalling. .
Now the FCC has made the decision to use AI to generate the voices used in these Robocalls are illegal on their own.
Today’s ruling by the commission will also expand the legal avenues available to other state law enforcement agencies, as well as to the general public and the commission itself through civil court cases.
Under this new ruling, the FCC said it has civil authority to fine AI-generated robocallers, as well as to block telephone carriers and other telecommunications companies from activities that help facilitate these illegal robocalls.
This ‘Declaratory Resolution’ expanding the meaning and scope of the TCPA to include AI-generated robocalls will also allow individual consumers and organizations to file suit against infringing robocallers.
“It seems like something from the distant future, but this threat is already here,” FCC Chairman Rosenworcel told the Associated Press when asked about the timing of today’s ruling.
“All of us could be on the receiving end of these hoax calls, which is why we felt now was the time to act.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.