How Using Speech Imitation Software Wrong Could Get a Person Thrown in Jail

There is new speech imitation software being created that is making voice cloning easier to do while sounding more realistic. Users beware: certain uses of speech imitation could get a person thrown in jail.

Speech recognition

Speech Imitation

Photo by: Antonio Silveira

Speech recognition is used by millions of Americans every day. Those from older generations who are not savvy on texting may use speech to easily send messages for them. Others frequently use Siri, Alexa, Samsung’s new Bixby, and Google Assistant to ask questions, get directions, order items, and otherwise include these AI assistants to have an active part in their technological lives. These systems are created to recognize a user’s voice and even adjust to better understand voice patterns. After correctly understanding the user’s speech, these AI assistants answer back in their semi-robotic tones, even going as far as to crack a few AI jokes. Now the speech recognition and computer speaking capabilities have gone to an entirely new level by speaking back to us in our own voices.

Speech imitation software

Photo by: SparkCBC

There have been a few different types of speech imitation software on the market, however none of them compare to what the company Lyrebird is creating. Using AI technology, the Canadian company Lyrebird uses a mere 60 second recording of a person’s voice in order to generate thousands of words and phrases. The troubling difference between these older versions of speech imitation software and those produced by Lyrebird, is the voices produced by Lyrebird sounds more realistic, losing the robotic sounds of other AIs. Already on the heels of Lyrebird are other advanced speech imitation software such as VoCo by Adobe, CandyVoice, and VivoText which plans on letting users choose the level of emotion portrayed through the imitated speech.

Illegal uses of the software

Now that this near flawless speech imitation software is here, imitating the speech of people could give user’s hours of entertainment; however it can also come with legal repercussions as well.

• If speech imitation is used to “expose any other living person to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule” and the person “knowingly communicate[d] to any person orally or in writing any information which he knows to be false” as is stated in Utah Code 76-9-404, the person using the voice cloning technology could end up with a class B misdemeanor charge for criminal defamation.

Photo by: Blogtrepeneur

•Speech imitation software could be used to commit identity fraud. Many security measures use other means of protection besides a password. This can include iris or fingerprint scanners as well as facial recognition or voice bio-metrics security software. Voice cloning could open doors for criminals to obtain private information about others or to gain access to otherwise secured accounts. According to Utah Code 76-6-1102, identity fraud is either a third or second degree felony, depending on “the value of the credit, goods, services, employment, or any other thing of value”.

• One crime that can arise from speech imitation software is impersonation of an officer. Whether done as a joke to scare a friend or for more malicious intent, pretending to be an officer in person or by voice can result in charges. Utah Code 76-8-512 states those guilty of impersonating an officer will face class B misdemeanor charges, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.

Photo by: CPOA

• One of the most malevolent ways speech imitation software could be used is by making it sound like someone admitted to committing a crime. If used this way, the person whose voice was imitated may be the one facing criminal charges. Since voice recordings may be used in court unless there is a lack of predicate, an imitated recording of someone confessing to a crime could mean the difference between whether or not someone goes to jail for a crime they didn’t commit.

• All the criminal charges detailed above can also be accompanied by civil charges brought on by the individuals who were victimized by the speech imitation.

Imitate responsibly

As with any technology, users should always follow the guidelines that would accompany speech imitation software and refrain from using the software illegally. For more information on legal ramifications of speech imitation, contact a criminal defense attorney.

Borrowing or using a Fake ID

Using a fake ID or borrowing someone else’s  will probably result in time behind bars, especially if the person’s name being used has warrants out for their arrest.

Wrong name to use

Blank nametagA Florida man who was attempting to avoid jail time gave police officers a wrong name when they approached him about a loud music complaint. 22 year old Darius Devonte McClain thought using his brother’s name instead of his own would be a good idea, since stating his own name would show that he was violating his probation. Unknown to McClain regrettably, his brother had warrants out for his arrest and police proceeded to detain McClain thinking he was his brother. He then fessed up that he had used his brother’s name. Unfortunately for McClain, it didn’t stop his arrest but instead added a charge of providing false information to police along with his probation violation charges.

Pretending to be someone else

Using someone’s name and personal information when approached by police officers is often done by those wanting to avoid charges that may be pending on their own name. If they don’t have their ID in their possession to contradict the name they’ve used verbally, sometimes they can get away with the faulty information. Another reason someone may borrow another’s information is when they are underage and wanting to purchase alcohol or attend a bar. For this reason, actually having the ID stating they are 21 is required. If the underage drinker can find a 21 or older look-alike, such as a sibling, they will often borrow the ID to support their drinking habit. Of course, both giving false information to an officer and using another’s ID are against the law for the accused and their older friend or sibling if they loaned their ID willingly. These charges are minimal compared what will happen if a fake ID is used.

Prison time for making a fake ID

Photo by: Drew Stephens

Photo by: Drew Stephens

A fake ID is one that has been tampered with or made from scratch altogether. Typical forged data found on a fake ID include:

• The person’s actual ID with information such as the birthday changed
• Someone else’s ID with the picture replaced
• A newly produced, yet fake ID card any desired picture and information

Besides an actual state ID card or drivers’ license, other documentation that can be fraudulently altered or produced includes:

• Birth certificates
• Marriage licenses
• Death certificates

Don’t mess with the feds

All of the above documents, like a fake ID, can be used to deceive law enforcement and other government officials and even steal another’s identity. The listed documents are state issued and bring with them charges based on the state of the arrest. According to Utah Code 76-6-501, producing false identification such as a fake ID is a second degree felony and punishable by up to 15 years in prison. For identification items such as a forged passport, social security card, permanent resident card (green card), or tourist visa, these are federal documents and will bring harsher charges from federal prosecutors.

Easy, yet costly

With technology able to print 3D images, printing or altering a flat ID card is a piece of cake. Fake ID’s are also talked about so casually that many individuals don’t understand the legal ramifications that can come from using one. Making a fake ID or altering a government issued ID is not worth whatever privilege it allows temporarily such as driving, buying alcohol, or travel to other countries. For those caught using or making a fake ID or other state or federal document, speak to a criminal defense attorney immediately.