The Federal Communications Commission yesterday announced it will begin assessing the evolving threat of how artificial intelligence is being used to impact illegal and unwanted robocalls and texts with the intention of looking at how the Telephone Consumer Protection Act can be used to protect consumers.
Jessica Rosenworcel, the chair of the FCC, announces yesterday that a proposal will be voted on at the agency’s next meeting — scheduled for November 15 — and if the Notice of Inquiry is adopted, the FCC will formally investigate how the TCPA can be used to allow the regulator to take action against companies using AI technology in ways that negatively impact consumers. Rosenworcel did couch her concerns by addressing the “significant potential” that AI has to help consumers and telecom networks.
“AI is a real opportunity for communications to become more efficient, more impactful, and more resilient,” she said in a statement. “While we are aware of the challenges AI can present, there is also significant potential to use this technology to benefit communications networks and their customers—including in the fight against junk robocalls and robotexts. We need to address these opportunities and risks thoughtfully, and the effort we are launching today will help us gain more insight on both fronts.”
Published reports indicated that the measure is expected to be approved at the FCC’s November meeting.
AI has the power to both improve the effectiveness of collection agents and call center representatives and make it easier for consumers to get the information they are looking for when they make calls to these companies. But it just as easily can be used to trick consumers into doing things they shouldn’t do.
The FCC’s goal would be to solicit public comment on the following topics:
- How AI technologies fit into the Commission’s statutory responsibilities under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA);
- If and when future AI technologies fall under the TCPA; • How AI impacts existing regulatory frameworks and future policy formulation;
- If the Commission should consider ways to verify the authenticity of legitimately generated AI voice or text content from trusted sources; and,
- What next steps, if any, are necessary to advance this inquiry.