Hawaii Attorney General Joins Call to Ban AI in Telemarketing

Hawaii state Attorney General Anne Lopez has joined a coalition of 26 states in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to address the potential harm in the use of artificial intelligence by telemarketers and asking the federal government to strongly restrict such usage.

In November, the FCC posted a Notice of Inquiry, in which it requested input on the implications and usage of A.I. technology in consumer communications and how the technology fits under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Specifically, the FCC inquired about the potential ability of A.I. technologies to act as the functional equivalent of a live agent.

Pursuant to the TCPA, robocalls are those calls made using an artificial or prerecorded voice. Such calls are generally prohibited unless the calling party obtains the prior express written consent of the consumer.

Hawaii joined the comment letter to the FCC, saying marketers wanting to use A.I. to impersonate a human voice should be required to follow the TCPA’s rules and regulations with respect to “artificial voices,” including obtaining the prior express written consent from consumer targets.

“While the rapid, recent development of A.I. technology contains great potential, we must also remain vigilant as to the ways it can be misused,” said Deputy Attorney General Chris Leong, of the department’s Commerce and Economic Development Division. “If A.I. can create artificial voices that will then robocall unsuspecting consumers, then these A.I. voices should not be treated differently from any other artificial or prerecorded voice already subject to regulation by the FCC.”

Attorney General Lopez joins the Attorneys General for Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, and Washington.

A copy of the comment letter can be found here.