The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has declared AI-generated voices are ‘artificial’, which now officially means they are illegal to use in the context of automated voice calls.
While this doesn’t mean the pre-recorded audio you hear saying that “your call is very important to us” when contacting customer support is a thing of the past, it will help prosecute automated calling scams that impersonate the likes of US President Joe Biden.
It may seem that this designation is long overdue, but designating something as illegal is a process that necessarily takes much time and deliberation before a final decision is made
Expect a rise as we approach elections
The designation of AI-generated voices as artificial could not come soon enough as US local and national elections approach.
In order for authorities to begin prosecuting the perpetrators behind the scams advertised by robocalls, they need to have a reasonable amount of suspicion that a crime has taken place. Now, if a call uses a pre-recorded or live AI-generated impersonation then makes the entire prosecution process much easier.
In a press release, FCC Chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, said “That’s why the FCC is taking steps to recognize this emerging technology as illegal under existing law, giving our partners at State Attorneys General offices across the country new tools they can use to crack down on these scams and protect consumers.”
The rate at which new AI technologies are emerging is argued by some experts to be outstripping our ability to regulate them, but this latest designation is a step in the right direction alongside other AI regulations being laid out worldwide.
While it isn’t perfect and there will be some additional legal patchwork done later on, it will help combat crimes such as the “deepfake CFO” call that recently cost a company millions of dollars.
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Benedict Collins is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro covering privacy and security. Before settling into journalism he worked as a Livestream Production Manager, covering games in the National Ice Hockey League for 5 years and contributing heavily to the advancement of livestreaming within the league. Benedict is mainly focused on security issues such as phishing, malware, and cyber criminal activity, but he also likes to draw on his knowledge of geopolitics and international relations to understand the motives and consequences of state-sponsored cyber attacks.
He has a MA in Security, Intelligence and Diplomacy, alongside a BA in Politics with Journalism, both from the University of Buckingham. His masters dissertation, titled 'Arms sales as a foreign policy tool,' argues that the export of weapon systems has been an integral part of the diplomatic toolkit used by the US, Russia and China since 1945. Benedict has also written about NATO's role in the era of hybrid warfare, the influence of interest groups on US foreign policy, and how reputational insecurity can contribute to the misuse of intelligence.
Outside of work Ben follows many sports; most notably ice hockey and rugby. When not running or climbing, Ben can most often be found deep in the shrubbery of a pub garden.