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Mastermind Behind Biden AI Deepfake Indicted for Robocall Scheme

A political consultant identified as the individual who paid for a deepfake robocall created to impersonate US President Joe Biden has been indicted on charges of felony voter suppression as well as misdemeanor impersonation of a candidate. 

Steven Kramer, who paid $150 for the deepfake, has now been fined $6 million by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the call, which urged people not to vote in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary. 

Kramer said he wrote the script for the call before paying someone to use AI to record it using the president’s cloned voice. He then hired a telemarketing firm to play the recording to voters over the phone.

Kramer’s goal reportedly was to get Biden supporters to stay home, aiming for a low voter turnout, and to give Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) a greater chance of challenging Biden for the presidential nomination in New Hampshire.

Kramer expressed no remorse for creating the deepfake that led to several investigations.

“I’m not afraid to testify, I know why I did everything,” Kramer told NBC News. “If a House oversight committee wants me to testify, I’m going to demand they put it on TV because I know more than them.”

He said he planned his scheme from the beginning to call attention to the dangers of AI in the political sphere, adding that more enforcement will be necessary to try to stop others from replicating what he did. Though he alleges that he committed this act of “civil disobedience” entirely on his own, according to campaign finance reports, Rep. Phillips paid Kramer more than $250,000 at the time of the robocall debacle.

“This is a way for me to make a difference, and I have,” Kramer said. “For $500, I got about $5 million worth of action, whether that be media attention or regulatory action.”

In addition to Kramer being fined, the FCC has proposed that Lingo Telecom, the voice service provider that was used, be fined $2 million for transmitting the calls and labeling them incorrectly.

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