Last updated on September 13th, 2023 at 08:47 am
The attorney generals from all 50 states in the U.S. are urging Congress to address the exploitation of children through artificial intelligence (AI) in pornography. In a letter sent to congressional leaders, they call for the establishment of an expert commission to study how AI can be used to exploit children and for existing restrictions on child sexual abuse materials to be expanded to cover AI-generated images. The attorneys general express concerns about the potential for AI to create deepfake scenarios, where images and videos are digitally altered to depict abuse or use the likeness of real children without their consent. They argue that current laws may not adequately address these virtual forms of exploitation and call for urgent action to protect children from the dangers of AI.
The efforts to address this issue enjoy bipartisan support, as state attorneys general from various ideological backgrounds have joined forces to call for legislation. They hope that protecting children from the dangers of AI will be an area where even those with opposing views can find common ground. The Senate has held hearings on the potential threats posed by AI-related technologies, and there is growing recognition of the need for government intervention to mitigate risks. While there is no immediate indication that Congress will enact comprehensive AI regulations similar to those being developed in Europe, U.S. agencies have expressed a commitment to crack down on harmful AI products that violate existing civil rights and consumer protection laws.
In addition to federal action, state attorneys general are also examining their own state statutes to identify areas where child exploitation laws may need to be updated to address AI-related concerns. They acknowledge that current laws may not have kept pace with the novel technology of AI. Concerns include the creation of deepfake images and videos of abused children, the alteration of real children’s images to depict abuse, and the creation of entirely fictitious child images for pornography purposes. The attorneys general emphasize that even though these are virtual forms of exploitation and no actual harm may have been inflicted on a child, they still contribute to the porn industry’s abuse of children.
While the tech industry has taken some steps to combat the issue, such as reporting tools for explicit content, the attorneys general believe that ongoing efforts to evolve and adapt law enforcement practices are necessary to effectively address the evolving tactics of perpetrators. The urgent need to protect children from the potential harm of AI exploitation drives the attorneys generals’ call for legislative action and a comprehensive study of the issue.