FCC Proposes 6M Fine for Fake Biden Robocalls Before the NH Primary 

By Jason Lee

Last week, the FCC proposed a $6 million fine against political consultant Steve Kramer for producing AI-generated robocalls of President Joe Biden before the New Hampshire Primary election.  

As described in the FCC’s press release on the fake robocall campaign:

The robocalls, made two days prior to the election, used a deepfake of President Biden’s voice and encouraged voters to not vote in the primary but rather to ‘save your vote for the November election.’

The FCC found the robocalls violated “the Truth in Caller ID Act by maliciously spoofing the number of a prominent local political consultant.” Steve Kramer has also been indicted by the state of New Hampshire for “charges of felony voter suppression and misdemeanor impersonation of a candidate.” 

The telecom company that helped transmit the fake robocalls, Lingo Telecom, is also facing enforcement by the FCC.  

In a FCC’s press release about Lingo Telecom’s punishment: 

Lingo Telecom, as the originating provider for the calls, faces a $2 million proposed fine for apparently violating the FCC’s caller ID authentication rules. Lingo Telecom failed to follow ‘Know Your Customer’ principles by applying the highest level attestation—signifying trust in the caller ID information—to apparently illegally spoofed calls without making any effort to verify the accuracy of the information.

This shows that there are laws in the books that the FCC could use to stop AI-related crimes. Still, lawmakers are currently pushing for AI election crime bills at the federal level, and the FCC itself has a proposal to deal with AI-generated political ads. Perhaps policymakers should allow existing laws to deal with AI-related election fraud before jumping to regulate who can use AI.