Source of Biden New Hampshire deepfake calls discovered

 February 7, 2024

New Hampshire's Attorney General unveiled a significant breakthrough in the investigation into an AI-generated robocall masquerading as President Joe Biden, urging Democrats to abstain from participating in last month's presidential primary.

During a press conference held in Concord, Attorney General John Formella, a Republican, announced the initiation of a criminal inquiry in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission and a private industry group to trace the source of the nefarious robocalls.

The announcement

This announcement comes as a response to reports from NBC News, which first brought the issue to public attention.

Formella emphasized the gravity of the situation, highlighting the unprecedented nature of AI-driven robocalls so close to a crucial electoral event.

The Attorney General underscored the critical need to establish a precedent that deters such deceptive practices, especially with the imminent November election on the horizon.

The robocalls

These robocalls potentially violate both state election laws against voter suppression and federal telecommunications statutes, prompting law enforcement to pursue vigorous civil and criminal actions against the responsible entities.

The robocalls, which reached an estimated 5,000 to 25,000 individuals over the weekend preceding the Jan. 23 primary, had a significant impact, given the relatively modest turnout of fewer than 125,000 voters in the Democratic primary, as disclosed by Formella.

The deceptive nature of the robocall, falsely advising Democrats to delay their voting until the November general election under the guise of purported electoral restrictions, prompted immediate action.

The fallout

While Formella refrained from speculating on the motives behind the calls, he revealed that exhaustive investigative efforts led to the identification of Life Corp., a Texas-based telecommunications marketing company, allegedly owned by an individual named Walter Monk, as the source.

Formella's office promptly issued a cease-and-desist letter to Life Corp., demanding an immediate halt to any activities potentially constituting voter suppression under state law.

Despite limited online information about Monk or Life Corp., Formella revealed Monk's professional affiliation on LinkedIn as a Dallas-based entrepreneur with links to other communication companies.

Life Corp.'s previous run-ins with the FCC, including a citation in 2003 for violating federal telecommunications laws, underscore the gravity of the situation. The company, operating under various aliases, was found guilty of disseminating unsolicited prerecorded advertisements to residential telephone lines.

These revelations highlight the urgent need for stringent regulatory measures to safeguard the integrity of the election as Biden and Trump face a likely rematch of their controversial 2020 election that generated significant accusations and weeks of speculation over election interference.

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