AI Voice Used To Frame School Principal In Unreal Arrest

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Baltimore County Police have arrested Dazhon Darien, the former athletic director of Pikesville High School, for using an AI voice to impersonate Principal Eric Eiswert. Darien is accused of distributing fake audio recordings, which contained racist and anti-Semitic remarks, on social media, which led the public to believe that Eiswert was responsible.

An Inside Job

Darien was arrested at BWI Airport while attempting to board a flight to Houston. Police Chief Robert McCullough revealed that the 31-year-old was carrying a gun, and airport officials discovered an existing warrant for his arrest. Police were unsure if he was trying to flee and charged Darien with disrupting school activities by using an AI voice to impersonate Eiswert.

A.I. Prank Set Off A Catastrophe

The arrest followed an investigation into the AI voice clips circulated on social media platforms in January. Subsequent analysis by law enforcement revealed that the recordings were likely AI-generated and traced them back to Darien, who created them after Eiswert launched an investigation into improper payments made to a school athletics coach, who happened to be Darien’s roommate.

Additionally, Darien faces charges of theft and retaliating against a witness. He was released on a $5,000 bond and opted to waive legal representation during his initial court appearance. “The audio clip had profound repercussions,” the charging documents said.  “It not only led to Eiswert’s temporary removal from the school but also triggered a wave of hate-filled messages on social media.”

Using A.I. For Evil

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Further investigations revealed that Darien had accessed the school’s network in December and January to search for AI tools that simulate voice. This type of software uses Large Language Models and deep learning to gather vast amounts of data from the internet to recognize and generate text. Furthermore, Darien was linked to an email account that was responsible for distributing the recording.

Potential Conspriacy

Eiswert maintained his innocence during the investigation, stating that the comments did not align with his beliefs. While his close friends and colleagues believed he could never make such hateful remarks, many students, parents, and Pikesville High School staff members felt that Eiswert was guilty and that the AI voice recordings were authentic.

A Game Of Digital Telephone

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Police stated that three teachers initially received the clip the night before it went viral. The first teacher to receive it was Darien. Another school staff member said she received an email along with a call from a teacher named Shaena Ravenell and Darien. Ravenell told police that she forwarded the email to a student, knowing the child would quickly spread it on social media.

She also sent the AI voice recording to the media and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Ravenell did not mention receiving the clip from Darien until questioned about his involvement. While Ravenell has not been charged, she and Darien have resigned from Pikesville High School on April 16. Per school documents, their resignations are effective as of June 30.

Misinformation Is Everywhere

The incident has raised concerns about the misuse of AI technology and its potential to spread false information. AI voice tools have become readily accessible on the internet, and just one minute of recording someone’s voice is enough to mimic it. Experts have emphasized the need for legislative measures to address gaps in current laws regarding the manipulation of content generated by AI.

Source: The Baltimore Banner

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