Two Texas companies were behind the AI Joe Biden robocalls

A picture of Joe Biden with red and blue graphics.
Image: Laura Normand / The Verge

Lingo Telecom and Life Corporation are linked to a robocall campaign that used an AI voice clone of President Joe Biden to persuade New Hampshire voters not to vote, said New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella during a press conference on Tuesday. Authorities have issued cease-and-desist orders as well as subpoenas to both companies. The two companies are both based in Texas and have been accused of illegal robocall investigations in the past, the FCC noted in the document.

In its cease-and-desist order to Lingo Telecom, the FCC accused the company of “originating illegal robocall traffic.” According to the document, the robocalls began on January 21st of this year, two days before the New Hampshire presidential primary. Voters in the state received calls that played an “apparently deepfake prerecorded message” of the president advising potential Democratic voters not to vote in the upcoming primary election. The calls were spoofed to appear to come from the spouse of former New Hampshire Democratic Party official Kathy Sullivan.

Investigators from the Industry Traceback Group discovered that Lingo Telecom was the originating provider for the robocalls. After being informed of this, Lingo then told investigators that Life Corporation was the initiating party behind the calls and subsequently suspended service to the company.

Media reports that ElevenLabs was likely the creator of the software used to make the voice clone of Biden could not be confirmed, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office stated in its press release. The company makes a popular AI voice generator that can clone real voices or create synthetic ones. Bloomberg earlier reported that ElevenLabs suspended the account of the creator of the fake AI calls of Biden.

New Hampshire is continuing to investigate whether the robocall campaign violated election and consumer protection laws. Anywhere between 5,000 and 25,000 calls were made, estimated the call monitoring service Nomorobo.