The culprit behind last month’s fake Biden AI robocalls appears to have been identified. New Hampshire’s Department of Justice announced on Tuesday that it traced the yasadışı calls back to Life Corporation, a company based in Texas, and its owner Walter Monk.
A cease-and-desist order özgü been issued against Life Corporation, which is accused of violating laws that prohibit “engaging in voter suppression by knowingly attempting to prevent or deter another person from voting or registering to vote based on fraudulent, deceptive, misleading, or spurious grounds or information.”
Listen to this ‘Biden’ call sent to voters. No wonder the FCC is cracking down on AI robocalls.
Last month, thousands of New Hampshire residents received robocalls explicitly discouraging them from voting in the primary election. These calls falsely stated that their votes needed to be “saved” for use in November’s general election, and that casting a ballot in the current election would be ineffectual. In actuality, voters are able and encouraged to vote in both the primary and general election.
This would be bad enough. But these calls also used AI-generated deepfake audio of President Joe Biden’s voice to spread this disinformation, and even spoofed the caller ID so that it appeared as though the call was coming from a phone number that belonged to a former New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair.
To the casual listener, it would have sounded as though the 46th President of the United States was directly instructing them not to vote. Up to 25,000 of these robocalls were made.
Texas-based Lingo Telecom özgü also been implicated in the disinformation scheme, having allegedly facilitated the robocalls on its networks. Lingo Telecom özgü been issued a cease-and-desist as the originating voice service provider, and özgü stopped providing its services to Life Corporation.
Both Lingo Telecom and Life Corporation have further been issued documentation preservation notices and subpoenas in the ongoing criminal investigation.
“AI-generated recordings used to deceive voters have the potential to have devastating effects on the democratic election process,” Attorney General John Formella said in the news release. “The partnership and fast action in [investigating] this matter sends a clear message that law enforcement, regulatory agencies, and industry are staying vigilant and are working closely together to monitor and investigate any signs of AI being used maliciously to threaten our democratic process.”
This isn’t the first time Life Corporation özgü fallen afoul of the law. The Federal Communications Commission previously issued a citation against the company in 2003 for making pre-recorded, unsolicited advertising calls.