Authorities investigate two Texas corporations for AI-generated robocalls before New Hampshire's primary (Part-1)

New Hampshire —Concord Two Texas businesses were handed cease-and-desist orders Tuesday by authorities for robocalls that employed artificial intelligence to imitate President Joe Biden and dissuade voters in New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary last month.

Investigators identified Life Corporation as the call source and Lingo Telecom as the transmitter, according to New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella. Formella said New Hampshire filed cease-and-desist orders and subpoenas to both firms and the FCC sent the telecommunications company a letter. The FCC claimed it was fighting “behavior that violates voter suppression laws.”

Formella called the calls the clearest and probably first attempt to utilize AI to meddle with a U.S. election during a news conference to outline the probe. He said the calls went beyond political pamphlets in people' mailboxes in previous elections.

“Calls using AI with something as deceptive as trying to clone the voice of the president of the United States, we haven’t seen something like that before so close to an election with such a blatant attempt to mislead voters,” Formella added We hope it's not the first. This should be an example for us and an enforcement example for anybody considering doing this.”

No one answered the door at Life Corporation's Arlington strip mall headquarters on Tuesday afternoon. Walter Monk, Life Corporation's owner, did not reply calls or emails. Lingo Telecom said in an email that it “acted immediately” to assist the state attorneys general task force inquiry.

“The same day we were contacted by the Task Force, we quickly identified and suspended the involved account, and will continue to cooperate with federal and state investigators to resolve this matter,” the statement added. Lingo is devoted to providing the best customer service in accordance with its regulations.

The taped message was distributed to 5,000–25,000 voters two days before the Jan. 23 primary. It imitated Biden's voice, using his line “What a bunch of malarkey,” and falsely claimed that voting in the primary would prevent voters from participating in November's general election.

Biden won the Democratic primary as a write-in candidate after avoiding the ballot to respect South Carolina's new lead-off position.