back to article FTC asks normal folks if they'd like AI impersonation scam protection, too

The FTC is moving to make not only the fraudulent AI impersonation of government and business folk illegal but is also now asking the American public if they'd like some protection too.  The US consumer watchdog announced as much on Thursday, alongside the introduction of a final rule that will give the Commission the ability …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    So everytime a spammer in India/Russia/China makes a call

    the FTC fine Intel/AMD/Nvidia?

    Or just the Tensorflow, Pytorch, Caffe2 developers ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So everytime a spammer in India/Russia/China makes a call

      > FTC fine Intel/AMD/Nvidia?

      You are not going far enough.

      All those companies rely on silicon, most commonly found here in oxide form.

      Fine the owners of the sand! The beaches are to blame for it all!

  2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    fraudulent AI impersonation

    In the early days of AI all the fraudulent phone calls were only annoying, but nowadays the fraudulent AI calls are pretending to represent the health industry wanting everyone to respond and give AI their personal credit cards details.

    This has only been a couple of years now and we're going to start have some elections this year. What will AI fraudulent impersonation do to help the politicians, and be used by outside countries to manipulate the election results? Honest politician are talking about kicking AI in the bum, but AI politician imitations by third parties (not the current politicians) are going to start appearing everywhere ... AI was a decent concept when it was initially being created but now it's used by muggers in the internet everywhere.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Of course I don't want my identity to be protected" said no one ever

    Honestly, why even ask? Isn't it already illegal to misrepresent who you are for the purposes of fraud? Of course, the attempted fraud itself is illegal.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: "Of course I don't want my identity to be protected" said no one ever

      Beat me to it.

      What an incredibly stupid question.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Of course I don't want my identity to be protected" said no one ever

      Can we find your downvoter(s)?

      They clearly wouldn't mind my trying out a few ideas I've picked up from watching the current re-runs of Hustle.

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "Of course I don't want my identity to be protected" said no one ever

      Because the law isn't going to define "AI", the law is going to ban something like "computer modified images"

      So those covers of Private Eye showing modified images disrespectful to the Prime Minister = Banned

      Then an expensive lawyer is going to claim that printing a picture from compressed data is a "computer modified image" so that picture of a politician "invading personal space" of their researcher = Banned

      -- Of course you can trust our government not to use legal overeach to extend laws that were only going to be used against terrorists, but what about other less trustworthy countries?

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: "Of course I don't want my identity to be protected" said no one ever

      Because a corpus of public comment demonstrates a mandate.

      I mean, hey, if you prefer regulators not seek public comment, I'd guess they'd be happy with that arrangement.

      Honestly, some hard-of-thinking on display today.

  4. martinusher Silver badge

    Trust someone to turn a problem into a business opportunity

    The ultimate goal of any scammer is to get hold of your money so the obvious way to fight scams is to make it a lot more difficult for people to rapidly transfer sums of money. It amazes me at the amount of detailed information one needs to give a bank to get a loan or a mortgage but when it comes to transferring money from a person's account to some obscure overseas location that's completely out of character they'll not only do this instantly but also claim to have no knowledge where the money went or who got it. (They often cite 'confidentiality' which I think is Bankerspeak for "f**k off" or words to that effect.)

    Fraud is like malware. Rather than erecting an ever more complicated maze of countermeasures, especially ones that require someone to pay a percentage as 'insurance', why not just fix the underlying problems? Apart from buying groceries and the like there is absolutely no need for any payments to be Right Now. The only reason this has sprung up is accountants keep on harping on about interest on every sum, business having got so wound up with debt and debt service that even the tiniest crack in the system would cause the whole edifice to collapse.

    My response to this is to play the 'old' card -- paper trails -- for anything that doesn't involve credit cards. (Credit cards, as we all know, have their liability for misuse shifted to the provider rather than the user, a huge defense against fraud since its their money that's at stake.) Slowing down transactions is the key to making life difficult for scammers because if something's too good to be true -- its something you need right now -- then it probably is too good to be true.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Trust someone to turn a problem into a business opportunity

      It's worse than that: far too many people like to CREATE a problem and THEN profit from the solution.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Trust someone to turn a problem into a business opportunity

      "Apart from buying groceries and the like there is absolutely no need for any payments to be Right Now."

      Depending on what can happen between right now and when the payment does complete, there can be a good reason to want it to be fast, and not just so that we don't have to wait forever for things to complete. The reason is to avoid scams of another type. For example, if I am buying something from you online, send you a payment, and ask you to send the item, you probably want to be pretty sure that the payment is going to be available before you ship it and I probably don't want to wait a long time for you to start the delivery process until you're sure. Both of us have the possibility that, during that waiting process, either I will find a way to take back the money after you have sent me the item or you end up not sending the item.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Trust someone to turn a problem into a business opportunity

        Yes, delaying payments introduces more potential for things like check kiting, too. It's by no means a perfect solution.

        There are other use cases for near-instant payments. Putting a down payment on a large purchase such as a car, for example, or the initial rent / security deposit when renting living space. Sometimes I've had to move money quickly between my own accounts because I'd forgotten which account a payment would be coming out of; sometimes I've had to move it quickly to the account of a family member because they had a financial emergency.

        I can see the utility of some additional amount of friction and control in consumer financial transfers; in fact my wife and I have, for years, had a "code word" authorization step enabled on one of our primary checking accounts. But I think it's difficult to get the balance right, and it will vary among users.

        And then we still have the problem of business financial fraud (BEC and the like). Businesses typically do need rapid settlement of financial transactions; changing that would have huge consequences for our modern long, tight, complex supply chains. (Yes, those are problems in themselves. Different discussion.) And the problem of cryptocurrency fraud; while it's tempting to laugh at that (I do, every time Molly White posts something), it's also true that it's being used to fund unsavory activities and organizations, so it is a genuine problem.

  5. MachDiamond Silver badge

    It should be written

    Any laws written (if even needed) should cover impersonation of anybody, not just celebs and vips. The biggest targets will be celebs and vips, but if the tech makes it easy enough, anybody could be a target. It never pays to be too specific.

  6. Kev99 Silver badge

    Ask Weird Al Yankovic what celebs think about impersonations. Everyone should be covered. Period.

    I still belive the technology exists for the phone companies to track & identify spoofers. If they don't know where a call originated it makes it very hard to complete the connection. Even VOIP needs to connect to a number.

    By the way. As of 5:48 PM ET, there was nothing on the FTC public comment web site about this rule.

  7. Julz


    Doesn't have to be a scam. What about voice overs. Is that's what his name, that nice chap from Dr Who telling me I'm fourteenth in the queue for the GP's receptionist to tell me there are no appointments today? Perhaps not...

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: It

      If people want to license their voices for that sort of thing, they can. This is about impersonation scams, not legitimate work.

      1. Julz

        Re: It

        But if its oh so similar and you haven't payed for a license...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It

          If it's a real human with a similar voice, and they're not claiming (or strongly implying) to be the famous person in question, that's perfectly fair. No misrepresentation involved.

  8. JustAnotherDistro

    Imagine having to ask whether equal protection should be a feature of the law.

  9. notoriusR2

    With the current members of the Supreme Court, this will likely be eliminated as a rule by declaring it an illegal extension of their bureaucratic authority.....sadly.

    1. Killfalcon Silver badge

      If Chevron goes, the American government falls apart with it. For generations, US law has assumed (under the 'Chevron' decision) that Congress can create an agency to deal with Something and have the agency handle the details around that Something. Almost all federal authority works under this auspice, and without it a lot of things all fail at once, from the parks to the post, from the ATF to the FTC.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Well, Chevron v NRDC was in 1984, so only 40 years ago. I suppose there have indeed been "generations" since then, but the term still feels like a bit of an overstatement.

        That said, I agree with your point. Overturning Chevron, besides being Yet Another rejection of the stare decisis Roberts likes to pay lip service to, would be both wrong and hugely disruptive.

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