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On February 8, 2024, the Federal Communications Commission declared that calls using AI- generated, cloned voices fall under the category of “artificial or prerecorded voice” within the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) and therefore are generally prohibited without prior express consent, effective immediately. Callers must obtain prior express consent from the recipient before making a call using an artificial or prerecorded voice, absent an applicable statutory exemption or emergency.

The FCC’s unanimous ruling comes after the agency, in November 2023, launched a Notice of Inquiry to better understand how it could meaningfully target this issue. The FCC recognized that there has been an uptick in AI-generated calls that imitate the voices of celebrities, family members and political candidates to deceive consumers. Designed to protect consumers from unwanted calls, the FCC’s ruling makes it clear that the TCPA applies to calls using any type of AI technology to generate a human voice. The FCC provided that AI-generated technologies such as “voice cloning” which emulate real or artificially created human voices, represent the types of calls that the TCPA is designed to capture. As a result, consumer protections under the TCPA explicitly apply to these calls.