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AI-generated Biden calls came through shady telecom and Texan front 'Life Corporation'

Voters in New Hampshire were treated in January to a call purporting to be from President Biden telling them not to vote in the primary. After a brief but intense investigation, the perpetrator has been revealed to be Life Corporation, a Texas-based company that has been caught slinging disinformation before.

The calls in New Hampshire were noted by the state attorney general in mid-January and an investigation into this attempt at voter suppression was begun. Now it is also clear, from matching press releases from California AG Rob Bonta and the FCC, that other agencies and authorities were immediately brought in.

Presumably the phone tree of the Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force, which covers just about the whole nation, lit up when the AI-generated Biden calls went through. It wasn't just a robocall — it was impersonation of the president and a variety of other offenses as well.

The fake Biden calls the New Hampshire primary "a bunch of malarkey" and tells people to "save your vote for the November election." In case you're curious, here's what the call sounded like (courtesy of New Hampshire's AG office):

https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Redacted-Biden-Call.mp3

Investigators traced the calls to a shady telecoms provider called Lingo, which has also gone by Americatel, BullsEyeComm, Clear Choice Communications, Excel Telecommunications, Impact Telecom, Matrix Business Technologies, Startec Global Communications, Trinsic Communications and VarTec Telecom. The FCC notes that the company (whatever its name really is) has been doing illegal call operations for years.

Lingo, however, was only doing the transmission of the calls on behalf of Life Corporation, a Texas company owned by one Walter Monk and also no stranger to illegal activity. The FCC notes that it cited Life and Monk in 2003 "for delivering apparently illegal prerecorded and unsolicited advertisements to residential lines."

Common sense suggests that if they were doing it in 2003 and they were doing it last month, they might have also done it a few times in between — but that is a matter for investigators.

Life Corp.'s website isn't much help; they have been "successfully creating solutions since 1987," whatever that means. "WaWhen you are thinking, "I wonder if Life Corporation could do...?" The answer is probably YES." [sic] "Please call use to discuss making a win-win arrangement for both of our companies."

It's the kind of thrown-together gobbledygook that suggests the company might not really do anything at all, or whatever it does do can't be said out loud or in public.

Although the companies behind the calls have been identified, this is still only the beginning of the legal work. Life Corporation and Lingo have both been issued cease and desists (from New Hampshire state authorities and the FCC respectively), but there could be charges filed and I've asked the New Hampshire AG about this possibility.

"The Election Law Unit is additionally issuing document preservation notices and subpoenas for records to Life Corporation and to multiple other entities, including Lingo Telecom, that may possess records relevant to the Attorney General’s ongoing investigation," writes the AG's office.