New Hampshire Attorney General Announces Criminal Investigation into Robocalls
The New Hampshire Attorney General, John Formella, has announced a criminal investigation into robocalls discouraging participation in the state’s presidential primary. The calls have been traced back to two Texas-based telecommunications companies, Life Corporation and Lingo Telecom. Both companies now face document preservation notices and subpoenas as part of the ongoing investigation.
Formella stated that the number of robocalls ranged between 5,000 to 25,000 and were made prior to New Hampshire’s presidential primary in January. These calls urged voters not to participate in the contest, instead saving their votes for the November election. Biden’s campaign referred this matter to the attorney general at the time and condemned it as disinformation.
A Real-Life Example of AI Election Interference Uncovered
During a recent press conference, Formella described the case as a real-life attempt to use artificial intelligence (AI) technology for election interference. According to Formella, such concrete evidence had not previously been seen before – an attempt using AI just days before a primary election with the aim of misleading or interfering with voters. Although specific details were not disclosed, Formella mentioned the possible involvement of other unnamed entities in these robocalls.
FCC Cracks Down on Illegal Robocalls
In response to the investigation, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sent a cease-and-desist letter to Lingo Telecom after previously warning both Lingo Telecom and Life Corporation about apparent illegal robocall violations. This move comes as part of a broader crackdown on illegal robocalls by state and federal authorities under new enforcement laws.
Life Corporation previously received a citation from the FCC in 2003 for delivering unsolicited prerecorded advertisement calls to residential telephone lines, violating the Communications Act of 1934 and FCC rules on telephone solicitation.
Telecom companies that persistently facilitate illegal robocalls now risk disconnection from the US telephone network by FCC order.
Other Potential Involvement in Robocall Scandal
Monk is reportedly associated with various ventures including Voice Broadcasting, a company known for political robocalls and boasting the ability to send up to 8 million calls per day on behalf of its clients. When contacted by CNN, a representative from Voice Broadcasting stated that Monk was busy and undecided about issuing a statement.
Federal Election Commission filings reviewed by CNN reveal that both Monk and his ex-wife each donated $5,000 in 2008 to PLR PAC, a Kansas-based political action committee that primarily spent its funds on advertisements airing on Spanish-language broadcast channels.
Ongoing Investigations Aim to Fight Voter Suppression and Disinformation
- Numerous entities have since commended the Attorney General’s swift response to the AI-generated robocall case, highlighting concerns about disinformation aimed at suppressing voting rights and undermining free and fair elections.
- Technology company ElevenLabs issued a statement indicating its commitment to preventing misuse of audio AI tools but refrained from commenting on the specific Biden deepfake call incident.
- An official declined to provide details regarding ongoing investigations into these robocalls, mentioning that the Justice Department is actively pursuing cases against individuals accused of voter suppression through false information spreading.
In conclusion, vigilance against election interference involving AI technologies must be increased. The rapid investigation into the Biden deepfake call is an important step in uncovering and addressing this serious issue. As robocalls continue to pose a threat to the democratic process, authorities must remain proactive in enforcing regulations and punishments to prevent further exploitation.