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The FCC stance on AI-Generated Voices in Robocalls

The FCC Stance on AI-Generated Voices in Robocalls

Gerardo Barajas

VoIP Security

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made a significant move on February 8, 2024, by issuing a Declaratory Ruling that categorizes calls made with AI-generated voices as “artificial” under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This ruling, effective immediately, labels the use of voice cloning technology in robocall scams as illegal. It aims to empower State Attorneys General across the United States with new enforcement tools to combat these scams, which often target vulnerable individuals through extortion, impersonation, and misinformation.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel highlighted the increasing use of AI to generate voices in unsolicited robocalls, emphasizing the new ruling’s role in enhancing the ability of State Attorneys General to crack down on such fraudulent activities. The decision expands legal avenues for prosecuting the perpetrators of AI-voice generated robocalls, going beyond addressing the scams’ outcomes to making the act of using AI-generated voices in these calls illegal.

This move is part of the FCC’s broader effort to address the challenges posed by illegal robocalls and the potential misuse of AI in these activities. In November 2023, the FCC sought insights on combating illegal robocalls and the role of AI in these schemes, including its potential for both harm and good in recognizing and blocking such calls.

The TCPA restricts telemarketing calls and the use of certain technologies for making these calls without prior consent from consumers. The new ruling ensures that AI-generated voices are held to the same standards as other forms of communication regulated under the TCPA. This includes the FCC’s authority to impose fines, block calls from carriers facilitating illegal robocalls, and the ability of individuals and organizations to take legal action against violators.

Furthermore, a coalition of 26 State Attorneys General has expressed support for this approach, reinforcing the FCC’s ongoing partnerships with state law enforcement agencies to identify and eliminate illegal robocalls. With a Memorandum of Understanding with 48 State Attorneys General, the FCC continues to strengthen its collaborative efforts to protect consumers and businesses from the menace of robocalls.

The significance of this ruling in the VoIP industry lies in its potential to curb the misuse of AI in generating deceptive voice calls, setting a precedent for stricter regulation of technology in communications. It reinforces the legal framework against robocall scams, ensuring that technological advancements do not outpace regulatory measures aimed at protecting consumers.


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