COLUMBIA, S.C. — Prosecutors from all 50 states are urging Congress to take action against the exploitation of children through pornography using artificial intelligence (AI).
In a letter sent to leaders of the House and Senate, the attorneys general from across the country called on federal lawmakers to establish an expert commission to study how AI can be used to exploit children and expand existing restrictions on child sexual abuse materials to cover AI-generated images.
The prosecutors emphasized the urgency of the issue, stating that the time to act is now as children are already being affected. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson led the initiative, garnering support from all 50 states and four U.S. territories.
Wilson expressed hope that the bipartisanship demonstrated by the attorneys general would motivate federal lawmakers to take action to protect children from new and exploitative technologies.
While Congress has yet to propose comprehensive AI regulations like those being drafted by European lawmakers, U.S. agencies have pledged to crack down on harmful AI products that violate existing civil rights and consumer protection laws.
In addition to federal action, Wilson is encouraging his fellow attorneys general to review their own state statutes for potential areas of concern related to child exploitation laws and AI technology.
Some of the dangers AI poses in this context include the creation of “deepfake” scenarios, where videos and images of a child are digitally altered to depict abuse. AI technology can also alter the likeness of a real child from a photograph sourced from social media, creating an image of abuse.
Furthermore, AI can be used to produce entirely fictional images of a child for the purpose of creating pornographic content.
Various efforts within the tech industry have been made to combat this issue, such as the implementation of an online tool called Take It Down, which enables teens to report explicit images and videos of themselves, including both regular and AI-generated content.
While AI is a powerful and disruptive technology, Wilson highlights the need for law enforcement and child protection measures to adapt and evolve to keep pace with the evolving tactics of criminals.