FTC Solicits Help Combatting Voice Fraud

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The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has begun accepting submissions for its Voice Cloning Challenge, which is aimed at promoting the development of ideas to protect consumers from the misuse of artificial intelligence-enabled voice cloning for fraud and other harms.

The challenge encourages multidisciplinary approaches, from product to policies to procedures, for preventing, monitoring, and evaluating malicious use of voice cloning technology.

Challenge submissions must address at least one of these intervention points:

  • Prevention or authentication to limit the use or application of voice cloning software by unauthorized users;
  • Real-time detection or monitoring to detect cloned voices or the use of voice cloning technology; or
  • Post-use evaluation to check if audio clips contain cloned voices.

The FTC will accept submissions online until Jan. 12. Information on how to submit a proposal for the challenge as well as complete rules can be found on the challenge website. The challenge winners, who will receive a $25,000 grant, will be announced early this year.</p/>

Voice cloning technology has grown more sophisticated as text-to-speech AI technology has improved. The FTC has raised concerns about ways that voice cloning technology could be used to harm consumers. For example, it could make it easier for scammers to impersonate family, friends, or business executives; it could also enable fraudsters to deceive consumers by appropriating the voices of creative professionals.

"We will use every tool to prevent harm to the public stemming from abuses of voice cloning technology," said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement. "We want to address harms before they hit the marketplace and enforce the law when they do."

"This exploratory challenge leverages one of our many tools at the FTC," added Stephanie Nguyen, the FTC's chief technology officer, in the statement. "The challenge is crafted in a way that ensures companies are responsible for the first- and second-order effects of the products they release."

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