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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken unprecedented action against Lingo Telecom for transmitting spoofed, deepfake illegal robocalls aimed at New Hampshire voters before the primary. The company faces a proposed $2 million fine for violating caller ID authentication rules.

The Incident

Just before the 2024 New Hampshire primary, voters received misleading robocalls featuring a deepfake of President Biden urging them not to vote. The calls spoofed the caller ID of a local political operative. Political consultant Steve Kramer orchestrated these calls, using Voice Broadcasting Corp. and Life Corp. to route them through Lingo Telecom. The FCC has also launched an enforcement action against Kramer.

The Violation

Lingo Telecom is accused of improperly labeling these spoofed calls with the highest level of caller ID attestation, making them harder to detect. This violated the “Know Your Customer” principle, essential for ensuring accurate caller ID information under the STIR/SHAKEN standards.

Caller ID authentication, guided by STIR/SHAKEN standards, is crucial in identifying and blocking suspicious calls. It ensures consumers receive reliable caller ID information and aids in tracing back the origin of spoofed calls.

Response

Loyaan A. Egal, Chief of the Enforcement Bureau, stressed the importance of stringent “Know Your Customer” protocols to prevent bad actors from abusing communication networks.

“It is imperative that providers employ ‘Know Your Customer’ protocols that will deter bad actors and limit the damage they can cause when they combine generative AI technology with spoofed caller ID information—a failure to do so undermines trust in our communications networks.”

This action is part of a broader effort by the FCC to combat robocall scams. The FCC, in coordination with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office, previously ordered Lingo Telecom to stop transmitting the suspicious calls.

Next Steps

The Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) outlines the alleged violations and proposed penalties. Lingo Telecom will have the chance to respond before any final action is taken.

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