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Political Consultant Indicted for AI-Generated Biden Robocalls

Joe Biden, Phone

A Democratic political consultant, Steven Kramer, has been charged for participating in a plot that employed AI to create robocalls that pretended to be Joe Biden. The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office released on May 23 that Kramer, an investigator hired by Phillips, an opponent of Dean’s, has been charged with 26 counts of voter intimidation and impersonation during the Democratic primary election in New Hampshire.

Details of the Robocall Scheme

Kramer is alleged to have used AI technology to make and disseminate thousands of robocalls to voters in New Hampshire. These calls, mimicking President Biden’s voice urged the voters to “save [their] vote for the November election,” stating that “Your vote counts in November, not this Tuesday.” Kramer is 54 years old and facing 13 felony voter suppression charges and 13 misdemeanor impersonation charges according to Attorney General John Formella.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has also threatened to fine Kramer $6 million saying that the deepfake robocalls infringed on caller ID laws. Also, the phone company that transmitted the calls, Lingo Telecom, proposed $2 million fine for misrepresenting the calls with the highest level of caller ID attestation, making it hard to detect the spoofed calls.

Responses and Implications

In reply to these allegations, Attorney General Formella highlighted the severity of the crime: “I hope that our respective enforcement actions send a strong deterrent signal to anyone who might consider interfering with elections, whether through the use of artificial intelligence or otherwise.

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Kramer stated in an NBC interview in February that he had intended to draw attention to the threat AI poses in politics by staging a protest. “This was a way for me to make a difference and I have,” Kramer said, “I got about $5 million of action for $500, whether that be media or regulatory action.”

The Biden campaign has admitted to the increasing fears over the use of AI in creating content and the possibility of influencing the voters. Reuters reported that the campaign has developed an interdepartmental team to deal with the consequences of AI in the 2024 elections.

February saw twenty of the largest AI technology companies commit to guaranteeing their software would not be used to sway the voters, a major issue as the election campaign season kicks in.

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