FCC Targets AI-Generated Voice Scams Under New Proposal

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FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel has proposed making AI-generated calls illegal under the TCPA to combat fraud and misinformation. The initiative follows incidents like the misleading robocalls in New Hampshire, with broader measures to protect consumers and improve law enforcement enforcement tools.

In a decisive move to protect consumer interests and curb the rising tide of technology abuse, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has revealed a proposal to classify AI-generated voice calls as illegal under the existing Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This bold step comes in the wake of a disturbing trend where robocalls, especially those that use AI to clone voices, have been implicated in spreading misinformation and committing fraud. In particular, a recent incident involving robocalls in New Hampshire that misleadingly used the AI-cloned voice of President Biden to dissuade voters from participating in the presidential primary election underscored the urgency of addressing this issue.

Rosenworcel’s proposal seeks to adapt the TCPA to the challenges posed by modern technology by recognizing AI-generated voices as “artificial.” This classification would effectively make the use of AI-based generative voice cloning technology in unsolicited calls to consumers illegal without prior consent, marking a significant milestone in the legal framework governing telecommunications and consumer protection.

The FCC’s strategy to combat the misuse of AI in telecommunications is multi-pronged, including not only regulatory fixes but also improved enforcement mechanisms. By expanding the scope of the TCPA to include AI-generated voice calls, the proposal aims to provide law enforcement with new tools to investigate and prosecute the entities behind these fraudulent practices. This initiative is part of a broader FCC effort that includes imposing fines, blacklisting non-compliant providers, and seeking joint measures with attorneys general and industry stakeholders to mitigate robocalls and fraudulent text messages.

The need for Rosenworcel’s proposal is further underscored by the evolving landscape of voice cloning technology, which poses significant challenges in distinguishing between genuine and AI-generated calls. The FCC’s move to classify such calls as illegal is intended to preemptively address the potential for widespread fraud and misinformation by ensuring that technological advances do not come at the expense of consumer trust and safety.

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That proposal is currently up for a vote by the full committee in the coming weeks. Its adoption would represent an important milestone in the ongoing battle against robocall fraud and the abuse of AI, reflecting a proactive stance to use existing legal frameworks to address emerging technological threats.

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