Two senators, one from each political party, are urging the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to assist state and local officials in protecting voters from false information created by artificial intelligence.
A recent letter, obtained only by CBS News, reveals that Senators Amy Klobuchar (Democrat from Minnesota) and Susan Collins (Republican from Maine) have expressed “significant apprehension.” They are calling for further action to be taken in order to assist officials nationwide in addressing these dangers.
The letter on Tuesday followed an event that occurred during the New Hampshire presidential primary.
A fraudulent automated phone call pretending to be from President Joe Biden advised voters to not participate in the Feb. 23 primary election and to wait until the November general election to cast their vote.
The recording obtained by CBS News stated that voting on Tuesday would only assist Republicans in their efforts to re-elect Donald Trump. It also emphasized that the important vote is in November, not on Tuesday.
Biden effortlessly emerged victorious in the Democratic primary for the state.
, however, there are clear worries surrounding the robocall. In their letter, Klobuchar and Collins addressed the interference attempt and noted that “artificial intelligence-generated deepfakes have also affected numerous Republican presidential candidates by falsely portraying them saying things they never actually said.”
Senator Klobuchar, who is known for her work on elections legislation, presented a nonpartisan proposal with Senator Collins and other colleagues in September of last year. The goal of the bill is to prohibit the use of “materially deceptive AI-generated audio or visual media” in relation to federal candidates. This bill has not yet been approved by the Senate, but if it were, it would also cover fake robocalls like the one that occurred in New Hampshire.
The two Senators have requested that the commission provide “extensive guidance” to election officials throughout the United States on how to protect elections and voters from disinformation related to AI.
“We have put forth a bipartisan bill to tackle the issues posed by misleading AI-generated content to our democratic system,” stated Klobuchar and Collins in their correspondence. They emphasized the importance of equipping election officials with the necessary knowledge to combat these emerging dangers in a prompt and efficient manner, especially during ongoing primary elections.
The recent New Hampshire robocall added to the ongoing controversy surrounding the use of AI-generated images, video, and audio by malicious individuals during the highly charged 2024 campaign season.
In May of last year, a computer-generated image depicting an explosion near the Pentagon was shared on social media, causing a temporary decline in the S&P 500 and inducing fear in the Washington D.C. area. This was due to several “confirmed” accounts on X, which was previously known as Twitter, distributing the photo.
Several fake videos and photos of former President Donald Trump, created using artificial intelligence, have been shared widely on the internet. These include fabricated images of Trump fleeing from law enforcement and appearing emotional in a court setting.
In the previous year, a campaign ad for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis featured artificially-generated images of Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci embracing, even though this never occurred. The campaigns for former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez also utilized AI bots to respond to voter inquiries before ultimately suspending their campaigns.