FCC chair asks telecoms companies to prove they're actually trying to stop political AI robocalls

This follows a consultant getting indicted over calls imitating President Biden.

Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has drafted a series of letters to nine major telecom companies, including AT&T and Comcast, to ask if they’re actually doing anything about AI political robocalls. AI-generated voices are getting pretty good at mimicking humans and we’ve already seen this technology in action, when an audio deepfake urged voters to skip the New Hampshire Democratic primary.

“We know that AI technologies will make it cheap and easy to flood our networks with deepfakes used to mislead and betray trust. It is especially chilling to see AI voice cloning used to impersonate candidates during elections. As AI tools become more accessible to bad actors and scammers, we need to do everything we can to keep this junk off our networks,” wrote Rosenworcel.

It’s worth noting that all AI robocalls were banned back in February, political or not, but the big telecom companies have yet to announce any enforcement plans. The mandate, however, does give State Attorneys General the ability to prosecute those involved in the robocalls.

Rosenworcel has also been trying to force political campaigns to disclose whether or not they used AI in TV or radio ads, as reported by US News & World Report. The proposed plan, however, has faced opposition from the Republican chair of the Federal Election Commission. Chairman Sean Cooksey wrote in a letter to Rosenworcel that the plan would overwrite the authority of the FEC to enforce federal campaign law, prompting a legal challenge.