Home » Political consultant who admitted deepfaking Biden’s voice is indicted, fined $6 million

Political consultant who admitted deepfaking Biden’s voice is indicted, fined $6 million

by NBC News

Steve Kramer, the political consultant who admitted to NBC News that he was behind a robocall impersonating Joe Biden’s voice, has been indicted in New Hampshire and fined $6 million by the Federal Communications Commission.

In separate announcements Thursday, New Hampshire’s attorney general charged Kramer with 26 counts, while the FCC fined him $6 million for “scam calls he set up to defraud voters” in violation of a federal Caller ID law.

“New Hampshire remains committed to ensuring that our elections remain free from unlawful interference and our investigation into this matter remains ongoing,” New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella said in a statement. “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.”

The charges include 13 felony counts of voter suppression and 13 misdemeanor counts of impersonation of a candidate, based on 13 New Hampshire voters who received the calls.

The FCC also fined a telecom company allegedly involved in the call an additional $2 million on Thursday.

Kramer did not return text messages, and his spokesperson declined to comment.

The robocall, which was first reported by NBC News and went out to thousands of New Hampshire voters in January, just ahead of the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, used artificial intelligence technology to deepfake Biden, telling voters to stay home and “save” their votes for the November general election.

It was the first known example of a deepfake’s being used in national American politics. It prompted outcry from officials and watchdogs, propelling the Federal Communications Commission to put forward a new rule banning unsolicited AI robocalls.

“[T]here is no need to travel to far-off lands to see how AI can sow confusion. Because this year in the United States a fraudulent campaign targeted voters in New Hampshire,” FCC…

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