In California, bots have to identify themselves. As of this week, companies that use robots to contact citizens via phone calls or e-mails, popularly known as bots, must identify themselves in this U.S. state and alert the recipient that they are “talking” to a non-human entity.

Californian Senate Bill 1001, which went into effect Monday, requires that communications with these machines, increasingly common in areas such as advertising or customer service, be transparent from the outset and that the user knows who he is talking to. In this way, one of the first phrases to be exchanged from now on in this type of conversation will be something like “hello, I’m a robot”, with the aim of avoiding the deceptive or deliberately confused way in which these robots are sometimes used to influence people’s behaviour.

Bots are computer programs that do repetitive tasks automatically over the Internet. These automated accounts are used on social networks to simulate human interaction. There are good ones and bad ones, as in life itself; everything depends on their use. Among the latter, those who collect email addresses for advertising purposes or to systematically spy on software vulnerabilities on servers. Beyond their illicit purposes to manipulate ideologies with the bombardment of messages on social networks, bots are also used by cyber-scammers to generate ‘ghost’ traffic and for new, hitherto complex fraudulent actions for software.


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