Thursday, July 25

New Hampshire officials will investigate AI robocalls mimicking Biden

According to the state attorney general’s office, New Hampshire voters received robotic messages over the weekend with a voice that was most likely artificially generated to impersonate that of President Biden, urging them not to vote in Tuesday’s primary election.

The fake recordings, which told listeners that “your vote makes a difference in November, not this Tuesday,” were manipulated to appear as if they were sent by a Democratic committee official, the office said.

The attorney general’s office stressed that voting in the primary will not disqualify voters from voting in the November general election as well.

“These messages appear to be an illegal attempt to disrupt the New Hampshire presidential primary election and to suppress New Hampshire voters,” the office said in a statement. “New Hampshire voters should completely ignore the contents of this message.”

The robocalls were previously reported by NBC News.

Disinformation and political pundits have raised concerns that such deceptive audio, known as deepfakes, could become prevalent this election season. Last year, the Republican National Committee used the technology to generate a video featuring images of apocalyptic scenarios after Biden announced his re-election bid. Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida posted fake images of former President Donald J. Trump, his political rival, with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the former health official.

State lawmakers are rushing to draft bills to regulate political content produced by artificial intelligence, which has already been used in foreign elections to mislead voters.

“The moment for the political deepfake is here,” Robert Weissman, president of the progressive watchdog group Public Citizen, said in a statement. “Politicians must hurry to put protective measures in place, otherwise we will face electoral chaos.”

In New Hampshire, the attorney general’s office began investigating allegations of robocalls after a complaint from Kathleen Sullivan, former chair of the state Democratic Party. In her complaint, Ms. Sullivan alleged that recipients of the unauthorized robocalls saw her husband’s name on their caller ID and were given her personal cell phone number to call to request removal from the list of calls.

Ms. Sullivan, treasurer of a political committee pushing voters to write in Biden’s name in Tuesday’s vote, wrote in her complaint that “these types of tactics, if left unpunished, will only get worse in the future.”