FCC Proposes $8 Million in Fines Against Telecom Company and Political Consultant for Using Deepfake Generative Artificial Intelligence

In a pair of Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture this week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a collective...
United States Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment
To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.

In a pair of Notices of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture this week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a collective $8 million in fines against telecommunications company Lingo Telecom and political consultant Steven Kramer.

Robocalls, Generative AI, and Deepfakes

The FCC alleges Kramer violated the Truth in Caller ID Act. According to the FCC, two days before the New Hampshire 2024 presidential primary election, Kramer orchestrated a campaign of illegally spoofed and malicious robocalls that carried a deepfake audio recording of President Biden's cloned voice telling prospective voters not to vote in the upcoming primary.

To transmit the calls, he worked with voice service provider Lingo Telecom, which incorrectly labeled the calls with the highest level of caller ID attestation, making it less likely that other telecommunications providers would detect the calls as potentially spoofed. For this reason, the FCC is also pursuing forfeiture against Lingo, alleging a violation of the STIR/SHAKEN rules for failing to use reasonable "Know Your Customer" protocols to verify caller ID information in connection with Kramer's alleged illegal robocalls.

FCC and State AGs Battle Potential Election Mayhem

FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel called this incident "unnerving" and emphasized the FCC's commitment to act quickly in this area. Here, the FCC worked closely with the New Hampshire attorney general and noted that the Commission had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with 49 state attorneys general to combat robocalls. Rosenworcel also unveiled that she shared a proposal with her fellow commissioners to require election advertisements on broadcast TV and radio to disclose if they use AI technology.

Other agencies are also taking action against AI-generated calls, such as the Federal Trade Commission's "Impersonation Rule."

Commissioners Flag "Devastating Effects" from AI Robocalls, Seek Updated Rules

Commissioner Carr noted that it only took publicly available software and $150 for Kramer to generate the fake robocalls. Commissioner Gomez stated that the event "exemplifies AI technology being harnessed for harm." Commissioner Simington agreed that the incident here was "egregious" but also lamented the FCC's increasing reliance on industry standards and groups in lieu of formal rulemaking. In his view, the current FCC rules are not sufficiently clear regarding the obligations of telecom providers, and he called for the Commission to immediately begin a rulemaking to address this.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

See More Popular Content From

Mondaq uses cookies on this website. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies as set out in our Privacy Policy.

Learn More