AI Poses Threat to Presidential Election Warns FBI, Department of Justice

The DOJ will press for enhanced sentences for those trying to use AI to spread election misinformation

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

May 16, 2024

2 Min Read
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Leading Department of Justice officials have expressed concerns about the potential for AI to increase interference ahead of this year’s presidential election.

At a recent meeting of the DOJ’s Election Threats Task Force, officials expressed concerns about AI being used to spread misinformation and hate speech.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said election inferences have become more “difficult and dangerous” and the DOJ “recognizes the urgency” of technology impacting the upcoming election, including those originating from overseas actors.

“We are prepared to confront them,” Garland said. “We will continue to protect people’s safety. And we will continue to protect our democracy.”

The attorney general said the DOJ would work with its National Security Division and other agencies, including the FBI to protect voters.

“Together, we promise the Justice Department will be relentless in defending the right to vote — and in defending the safety of the public servants who make voting possible,” Garland said.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said new technologies like AI provide criminals with new, cheaper ways to spread misinformation while hiding their identities.

“Violent threats using AI are still violent threats,” Monaco said.

The deputy attorney general said the DOJ would seek “enhanced sentences” for criminals found to be using AI to try and influence the election.

Related:Microsoft, OpenAI Launches Fund to Educate Voters About AI

“Election workers are on the front lines of this threat-accelerated landscape and the Election Threats Task Force will continue to pursue and hold accountable those who threaten these public servants, their families and the functioning of our democratic process,” Monaco said.

The FBI will share threat information and trends with agencies like the DOJ to curb election interference, according to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“We’re taking steps now to prepare for the full range of potential election threats and ensuring lines of communication are open so we can share threat information quickly,” Wray said.

“Each of our 56 field offices has had election crimes coordinators: special agents and intelligence analysts who stand ready to field threats if they arise and coordinate a response. When it comes to protecting elections, partnership and preparation are key.”

AI has already been used to try and spread misinformation during the primaries. Earlier this year, New Hampshire voters were subject to fake phone calls from President Biden telling them to stay home during the state primary.

There are also thousands of AI-generated deepfakes of President Biden and Donald Trump littered on YouTube as the tech to create deepfakes has become widely available.

Related:Google Gemini Faces New Restrictions for Answering Election 2024 Queries

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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