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FTC Updates Rules to Address AI Deepfake Threats to Consumer Safety

On February 16, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) introduced proposed updates to a rule concerning artificial intelligence (AI) deepfakes. The agency aims to safeguard users from fraudulent impersonations facilitated by AI technology. The proposed changes outlined in the ‘Rule on Impersonation of Government and Businesses’ document specify that AI-generated deepfakes mimicking businesses and government entities could be subject to legal repercussions.

No AI Deepfakes Allowed for Businesses and Government Agencies

The FTC emphasized the necessity for these changes citing the widespread occurrence of impersonations targeting businesses, government officials, and affiliated organizations.

The primary objective is to shield consumers from potential harm stemming from manipulative activities facilitated by AI technology.

Upon publication in the Federal Register, the updated rule will become effective within 30 days.

During the next 60 days, the FTC welcomes public feedback. Subsequently, upon implementation, the FTC will possess the authority to pursue perpetrators who exploit users through fraudulent impersonations of legitimate businesses or government entities.

Since the notable debut of ChatGPT in November 2022 by the OpenAI team, the AI industry has made significant strides. Under the leadership of Sam Altman, the company has recently introduced a new product named Sora.

Sora leverages AI prompts to produce lifelike videos featuring intricately detailed settings, sophisticated camera movements, and vivid emotions.

Advanced AI technologies provided by companies like OpenAI and Google have significantly enhanced productivity for individuals and businesses alike. However, they have also become potent tools in the arsenal of cybercriminals. Utilizing such tools, criminals can effortlessly manipulate the appearance or voice of individuals to deceive unsuspecting audiences.

The proposed FTC rule change intends to crack down firmly on these criminals, ensuring they are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

Although there isn’t a specific regulation explicitly declaring AI-generated recreations illegal, US Senators Chris Coons, Marsha Blackburn, and Thom Tillis have initiated measures to tackle this issue.

Impersonator Scams Stole $2.7 Billion in 2023

While impersonator scams may not frequently make headlines, they represent a significant threat to the United States.

FTC Chair Lina Khan emphasized the escalating prevalence of voice cloning and AI-driven scams. Khan suggested that updating regulations would bolster the agency’s capacity to combat AI-enabled scams involving impersonation.

Highlighting the potential magnitude of the threat posed by impersonator scams, Khan disclosed that US citizens suffered losses exceeding $2.7 billion in 2023.

The proposed rules would also empower the agency to recover stolen funds and return them to the victims affected by these scams.

In parallel, Jessica Rosenworcel, the head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has advocated for classifying all calls featuring AI-generated voices as illegal.

The announcement followed reports of US citizens receiving robocalls impersonating President Joe Biden.

In these calls, voters were instructed not to participate in the US Presidential elections.

Simultaneously, within the crypto industry, AI deepfakes have become a significant concern.

Michael Saylor reported that approximately 80 deepfake videos of himself are taken down daily. Many of these videos depict him urging users to transfer their Bitcoin to a specified wallet address.

Despite efforts to remove them, new deepfake videos emerge daily. As the Chairman of Microstrategy, Saylor has cautioned crypto investors about this growing trend.

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