AI-Generated Joe Biden Robocalls Traced to Texas-Based Company Doing Illegal Call Operations for Years
By Jace Dela Cruz
Feb 07, 2024 06:03 AM EST
Feb 07, 2024 06:03 AM EST
AI-generated robocalls purporting to be from President Joe Biden telling voters not to vote in the New Hampshire primary have been traced back to Texas-based Life Corporation, which has already been caught slinging disinformation before.
In a press conference in Concord, New Hampshire, on Tuesday, Attorney General John Formella said a cease-and-desist letter had already been sent to the company, owned by Walter Monk, and a criminal investigation was underway, Reuters reported.
According to TechCrunch, the robocalls in New Hampshire were noted by the state attorney general in mid-January, and a probe into this voter suppression attempt started.
"It's important that you save your vote for the November election... voting this Tuesday only enables the Republicans in their quest to elect Donald Trump again," the robocall had said.
Formella said the robocall was made to thousands of Democratic voters last January 21 or two days before Joe Biden won the January 23 nominating contest by a wide margin.
"The robocalls also illegally spoofed their caller ID information to appear to come from a number belonging to a former New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair. The message instructed recipients to call the number belonging to that person to be removed from future calls," Formella added.
Investigators reportedly traced the robocalls to a shady telecoms provider called Lingo, which has also gone by Americatel, Clear Choice Communications, BullsEyeComm, Excel Telecommunications, Matrix Business Technologies, Impact Telecom, Startec Global Communications, Trinsic Communications, and VarTec Telecom.
However, Formella said Lingo was only doing the transmission of the robocalls on behalf of Life Corporation. After Lingo Telecom was informed that the calls were being probed, the New Hampshire attorney general's office noted that the company suspended services to Life Corporation.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said its enforcement bureau had also issued a cease-and-desist letter against Lingo Telecom, demanding the company to "immediately stop supporting unlawful robocall traffic on its networks."
According to the FCC, it cited Life Corporation and Monk in 2003 "for delivering apparently illegal prerecorded and unsolicited advertisements to residential lines." Although the two companies behind the robocalls have been identified, the New Hampshire attorney general's office said this is only the start of the legal work.
Formella noted that they will continue investigating potential election law violations and consumer protection act violations while determining the total number of robocalls made. Nomorobo, the call monitoring service, estimated the calls made between 5,000 and 25,000.
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