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Is AI Calling Illegal? Not If Used Properly.






To be clear - if you are using Ai technology to do BAD things - that IS illegal.


Next, let's look at an opinion on the FCC ruling earlier this month.


 

Based on the FCC ruling issued on February 2, 2024, and the relevant provisions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991, it is evident that AI calling, particularly those utilizing technologies that generate human voices such as voice cloning, is subject to regulation under the TCPA.


The FCC ruling confirms that the TCPA's restrictions on the use of "artificial or prerecorded voice" encompass current AI technologies that generate human voices. This means that calls made using AI-generated voices fall under the TCPA and its implementing rules, requiring prior express consent of the called party to initiate such calls, except in cases of emergency or exemption. The TCPA prohibits initiating calls to personal mobile or home phones without prior express consent, and this prohibition includes calls made using AI-generated voices.


Furthermore, the ruling emphasizes that AI-generated calls must adhere to TCPA requirements, including providing identification and disclosure information for the entity responsible for initiating the call, as well as offering opt-out methods for the called party to request to stop receiving such calls, particularly in cases involving advertisements or telemarketing.


The ruling clarifies that AI-generated calls are considered "artificial voice" messages under the TCPA, regardless of whether they fully simulate a human voice or resemble the voice of a real person. This interpretation ensures that the TCPA's consumer protections apply to AI-generated calls and aims to deter negative uses of AI technology in making calls that could potentially harm consumers.


In the realm of business-to-business (B2B) communication, leveraging AI calling technology presents a promising avenue for streamlining operations, fostering efficient communication, and driving growth. Unlike consumer-focused calls, where the TCPA regulations predominantly apply to personal mobile or home phones, B2B calls typically target business phone lines or other professional contact information. Consequently, the direct application of TCPA restrictions to B2B AI calling may be less stringent.


While the TCPA regulations primarily address concerns related to consumer privacy and protection against unsolicited calls, businesses engaging in AI calling for B2B purposes should remain mindful of adhering to other applicable laws and regulations. For instance, compliance with telemarketing laws and regulations governing consumer data privacy is paramount, ensuring that AI calling initiatives uphold ethical standards and respect the preferences of recipients.


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also plays a crucial role in regulating AI calling practices. While the FCC primarily focuses on telecommunications regulations, the FTC oversees broader consumer protection laws, including those related to deceptive or unfair business practices. The FTC's enforcement actions and guidance provide additional layers of oversight for businesses engaging in AI calling, emphasizing the importance of transparency, truthfulness, and consumer choice.


While the TCPA may not directly regulate B2B AI calling, businesses embarking on this innovative approach should prioritize compliance with relevant legal frameworks and industry best practices, including both FCC regulations and FTC guidelines.

Maintaining transparency and providing clear opt-out mechanisms are essential practices to mitigate potential risks associated with AI calling, even in B2B communications. By proactively addressing concerns and offering recipients the choice to opt out of further communications, businesses can foster trust, uphold professional integrity, and avoid potential legal pitfalls.


Additionally, the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), provides further guidance and regulations for businesses engaged in telemarketing activities, including AI calling. The TSR prohibits deceptive and abusive telemarketing practices, requiring telemarketers to disclose certain information to consumers and honoring their requests to opt-out of further calls.


The TCPA primarily targets consumer privacy concerns, the TSR complements these regulations by addressing broader telemarketing practices, including those related to B2B calling. Businesses utilizing AI calling for telemarketing purposes must adhere to both TCPA provisions and TSR requirements, ensuring transparency, honesty, and respect for consumer preferences.


In summary, the FCC ruling confirms that AI calling falls within the regulatory scope of the TCPA, mandating prior express consent for calls utilizing AI-generated voices and adherence to TCPA disclosure and identification requirements. This underscores the legality of AI calling, contingent upon compliance with TCPA provisions to safeguard consumers from unwanted and unlawful robocalls. Although the TCPA primarily targets consumer privacy concerns, B2B AI calling operates within a less stringent regulatory framework. However, businesses venturing into AI calling must still prioritize adherence to pertinent legal standards, including FTC guidelines and TSR requirements in their AI calling endeavors and industry best practices. Responsible implementation of AI calling technology holds significant potential to transform B2B communication, driving efficiency, promoting collaboration, and fostering business growth in today's digital landscape.



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