In an unsettling turn of events, democracy faces a technological threat.
New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella has named a Texas-based telecom company as the perpetrator behind AI-generated robocalls that impersonated President Joe Biden, aiming to discourage Democrat voters in the presidential primary.
These calls reached up to 25,000 individuals just before the January 23 primary and advised Democrats to withhold their votes, suggesting they "save your vote" for the November general election. The source of these calls was traced back to Life Corp., a marketing company with ties to Walter Monk, a figure with previous political poll involvements and a history of political donations.
The gravity of this election interference is not lost on officials. Attorney General Formella's office has opened a criminal investigation in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and a private industry group. This probe is not just a matter of state concern; potential violations of federal laws are also on the table. The investigation follows a cease-and-desist letter to Life Corp., ordering the cessation of any activities construed as voter suppression.
Attorney General Formella expressed the severity of the situation: “We have never seen something so close to an election before and with such a blatant attempt to mislead voters. We don’t want this to be the first of many.”
Life Corp. and its alleged owner, Walter Monk, are under scrutiny, with limited information available about both. The company's lack of an online presence raises questions about its operations and intentions. In addition, another Texas company, Lingo Telecom, has been mentioned in connection with the deceptive calls.
These robocalls are not just a nuisance but a serious blow to the integrity of the electoral process, which relies on informed and unimpeded voter participation. The recent FCC action to criminalize most AI-generated robocalls last month signals the commitment to protecting voters from such deceitful tactics. “Our message is clear,” Formella declared in a unified stand against election interference.
Formella's stern warning encapsulates the resolve of law enforcement: “Don’t try it. If you do ... the consequences for your actions are severe.” This bipartisan effort highlights a universal principle that the foundation of any democracy is the sanctity of its elections.
The Attorney General's office, along with a coalition of state attorneys general and the telecom industry, are working assiduously to ensure that the cornerstone of democracy remains unshaken.
The identification of a Texas telecom company as the source of AI-generated robocalls impersonating President Joe Biden marks a significant moment in the fight against voter suppression. New Hampshire's Attorney General, John Formella, has initiated a criminal investigation with the FCC to address the potential violations of state and federal laws.
The robocalls, a blatant attempt to mislead voters, reached thousands just before the primary, falsely suggesting they reserve their vote for a later election.
This deception underscores the importance of vigilance in protecting the electoral process, with law enforcement agencies collaborating to deter future infringements. As the country heads towards a pivotal election, the message from New Hampshire's authorities is unequivocal: attempts to undermine democratic participation will be met with serious legal consequences.