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Baltimore coach allegedly used AI voice cloning to get principal fired

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Baltimore coach allegedly used AI voice cloning to get principal fired

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A physical education teacher and former athletic director of a Baltimore County high school has been arrested and charged with using an AI voice cloning service to frame the school’s principal.

The Baltimore Banner reports that Baltimore County police believe a recording whiich circulated through social media in January with purported audio of Pikesville High School principal Eric Eiswert making racist and antisemitic comments was fake. Experts told The Baltimore Banner and police that the recording, which briefly resulted in Eiswert’s suspension, has a “flat tone, unusually clean background sounds, and lack of consistent breathing sounds or pauses.” 

Baltimore County police traced the recording to Dazhon Darien, a former athletic director at the school whose name was also mentioned in the audio clip. He allegedly accessed school computers to search for “OpenAI tools.” It is not clear what AI voice platform Darien allegedly used. The police arrested Darien on Thursday at the airport, and WBAL TV 11 reports that “investigators believe Darien made the recording to retaliate against Eiswert, who, at the time, was pursuing an investigation into the potential mishandling of school funds.”

In this fraught environment, OpenAI decided in March to withhold its AI text-to-voice generation platform, Voice Engine, from public use. The service, which only requires a 15-minute audio clip to clone someone’s voice, is only available to a limited number of researchers due to the lack of guardrails around the technology.

US lawmakers have filed, but not yet passed, several bills like the No Fakes Act and the No AI Fraud Act that seek to prevent technology companies from using an individual’s face, voice, or name without their permission.

Update April 25th: Clarified that Pikesville High School is in the city of Pikesville in Baltimore County, MD, added details about Darien and Thursday’s arrest.

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