Political Consultant Behind Biden’s AI-powered Robocalls Faces Criminal Charges

Daily Report May 26,2024

A New Hampshire political consultant behind artificial intelligence (AI) generated robocalls mimicking President Joe Biden’s voice faces criminal charges and a $6 million charge.

The suspect, Steven Kramer, admitted to using AI-generated robocalls to convey a message sent to thousands of voters two days before the primary election on Tuesday, Jan.23. The message included misleading information to prevent voters from participating in the primaries.

“It is important that you save your vote for the November election,” the message stated. “Your vote makes a difference in November, not this Tuesday.”

Kramer, a political consultant for Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), faces 13 charges of felony voter intimidation or suppression. He also faces 13 counts of misdemeanor. Kramer’s criminal charges have been filed in four countries, including Merrimack, Rockingham, Grafton and Belknap, where some of the voters who received robocalls reside.

According to CNN, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also fined Kramer $6 million because the robocalls used call-spoofing technology that violated federal caller ID laws.

The FCC also announced that it was issuing a $2 million fine against Lingo Telecom, the carrier that transmitted the robocalls.

New Hampshire’s Attorney General John Formella stated that his office immediately opened an investigation after receiving multiple reports and complaints. However, during the investigation, Kramer stated that he produced the phone calls as a publicity stunt to demonstrate the need to regulate AI.

“Maybe I’m a villain today, but I think in the end, we get a better country and democracy because of what I’ve done deliberately,” he said.

Since the New Hampshire robocalls, the FCC has prohibited using AI-generated fake audio or video that impersonates political candidates.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel (D) said regulators are committed to helping states go after perpetrators.

“Bad actors are using AI-generated voices in unsolicited robocalls to extort vulnerable family members, imitate celebrities and misinform voters,” Rosenworcel said. “We are putting the fraudsters behind these robocalls on notice.

The FCC also ordered attorneys to go after those responsible for voice-cloning scams.

“State attorneys general will now have new tools to crack down on these scams and protect the public from fraud and misinformation.

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