On January 28, 2020, the US Federal Trade Commission will hold a public workshop on voice cloning technologies. As the federal agency charged with protecting consumers from fraudulent and deceptive marketing practices, the FTC workshop will review the potential misuse of voice cloning technologies as well as its benefits. The workshop will include three panel discussions focused on the pros and cons of voice cloning, the ethics of voice cloning, and authentication, detection, and mitigation issues.
From a consumer protection perspective, the FTC is keen on ensuring that voice-cloning technology does not hand scammers an easy way to perpetrate scams. For instance, giving fake voice commands to access smartphones, mimicking the voices of relatives in distress (“I’m in the hospital, Grandpa; you need to wire me money now”), or by giving phony instructions (“This is Deborah. Transfer my savings account to ____”). Advertising and marketing abuse will also be examined. For example, voice-cloned celebrity voices could be used in fake endorsements. From a pro-competition perspective, the FTC is interested in ways to promote technological developments and fair competition. Continue Reading