How robocalls are threatening election integrity

Robocalls have become a major threat to election integrity, spreading misinformation and potentially influencing voters. Find out what steps can be taken to stop scammers and protect our democracy.

Silvio Kutić

Co-founder and CEO

With the upcoming presidential election in the U.S., it is important to remain vigilant against scams and misinformation that aim to manipulate voters. While much attention is focused on big tech platforms, another significant vulnerability lies in robocalls, especially with the rise of AI technology.

Addressing this issue requires collaboration between the government, private sector, and consumers to maintain the integrity of our elections.

In a recent article published by Dallas Morning News, we discussed how companies in our industry can collaborate with law enforcement to tackle the threats caused by robocalls.

Read on to learn how this collaboration can protect election and business integrity and ultimately stop scammers from damaging our phone networks.

Understanding the threat of fake AI robocalls in elections

A recent controversy erupted over robocalls in New Hampshire, where the League of Women Voters sued the creators of an illegal robocall that discouraged voters before the Democratic primary. More than 20,000 residents received a fake message using AI to mimic President Biden’s voice and urge them not to vote.

A robocall task force of state attorneys general issued a cease-and-desist order against Arlington-based Life Corporation, a company that relied on multiple phone service providers to make these fake calls. The metadata attached to each call misrepresented the company’s identity and authorization, allowing the calls to pass through various networks unchecked.

This is why the Federal Communications Commission has ruled that AI-generated voice cloning calls are now illegal. While regulatory steps are a positive move, battling fake AI robocalls requires collective action.

Impact of fake AI robocalls on business communication and consumer trust

Businesses and consumers must cooperate with law enforcement to stop scammers. Telcos, in particular, need to recognize the bigger problem here. Fake AI robocalls interfering in elections aren’t just a threat to democracy – they can also have negative implications for businesses.

Despite advancements in technology, businesses rely on clear phone connections to address customer inquiries and promote their products and services. When scammers abuse these networks with fake robocalls, they undermine trust and make people less likely to pick up the phone.

Think about the recent scam in New Hampshire. Mobile phone calls pass through a chain of service providers, giving scammers multiple access points to penetrate the network with robocalls. To stop them, everyone along the chain needs to be vigilant. Voice provider companies play a key role as the first line of defense, and it’s important for them to thoroughly vet all new customers.

This can be challenging because it means creating additional barriers for potential clients and revenues, but in the long run, it will protect against reputational damage and negative impact on operational costs

Voice service providers may need to wait anywhere from a week to several months to obtain the telecom registrations needed to access our network. Just one bad actor can damage our network, leading to a loss of consumer trust and potential revenue.

This is why it’s important to prioritize safety and put in the necessary time and effort to protect our network and maintain consumer trust.

Working together to combat fake robocalls

Our industry has the opportunity to collaborate and establish unified standards for mobile service providers, ensuring that all callers meet certain qualifications to guarantee their legitimacy.

This can involve verifying registrations and certifications from the FCC and other authorities before allowing them access to the market. The cost for companies to comply with these standards is minimal, primarily just requiring a simple verification process.

Additionally, many mobile service providers have dedicated regulatory teams responsible for investigating instances of fraud and unwarranted traffic. Investing in training programs, workshops, and industry conferences that educate employees on identifying and combating unwanted calls can go a long way in preventing fraud.

Sharing these insights with policymakers ensures that legislation and regulations are informed by effective solutions that support businesses without hindering them. 

Consumers can also play a role in the fight against fake robocalls by reporting bad numbers to the National and State Do-Not-Call Registries. The FCC’s Consumer Complaint Portal is another valuable resource for reporting unwanted calls, helping to flag mobile service providers that allow bad actors onto their networks.

Final thoughts

Overall, it’s crucial for all stakeholders – government officials, companies, and consumers – to work together to combat the scourge of fake robocalls. By being proactive and diligent, we can stay ahead of scammers and protect both our phone networks and our democracy.

Let’s work together to ensure that costly lawsuits and questions about the integrity of our elections are a thing of the past.

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Apr 26th, 2024
4 min read

Silvio Kutić

Co-founder and CEO