FCC Declares Robocalls Illegal

(RepublicanDaily.org) – Americans may finally find some relief from unwanted and spam phone calls after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) declared that all calls that use voices generated by artificial intelligence illegal.

The FCC’s decision expands on existing protections consumers have under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which already provides the framework under which telephone spammers or scammers can be charged. The law also disallows “artificial” voices, but having been made way back in 1991, it contains loopholes – such as not defining if cloned voices were included – which some scammers and spammers over the phone have taken advantage of.

One example was a fraudulent phone message sent to voters in New Hampshire that used the cloned voice of President Joe Biden, urging them to skip the presidential primary election. While the action constitutes voter suppression – which is already illegal – the same kind of technology could be used in other ways that don’t technically break the law.

In a statement, Jessica Rosenworcel, the FCC’s chairwoman said that AI-generated voices are “sowing confusion” and are being used to “extort vulnerable family members [and] imitate celebrities”.

The updated guidance allows the FCC to fine violators as well as block the telephone companies involved. The new rule also allows victims to file lawsuits against robocallers that use AI and expands prosecutors’ toolboxes if they decide to bring these criminals to court.

The FCC’s recent decision is also seemingly in line with efforts by the Biden administration to create measures to prevent AI technology from being misused or developed irresponsibly. Most recently, the government put up the AI Safety Institute Consortium (AISIC), which operates under the purview of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The consortium, which has been joined by 200 companies as well as major players in the AI space such as Meta, Open AI, Microsoft, Google, NVIDIA, Apple, and Amazon, aims to develop regulation, guidelines, and security protocols for the development and use of AI.

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