30 members of Congress tell DOJ to protect children from AI exploitation

By Bob Unruh

(Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay)
(Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay)

Dozens of members of Congress are telling the Department of Justice to take action to protect children from the surging advances in artificial intelligence, and the child sexual abuse materials that it creates.

A report at the Washington Stand explains Rep. Bob Good, a Republican from Virginia, was joined by 29 others in Congress in a letter to Joe Biden’s attorney general, Merrick Garland.

They are expressing “grave concern” over the online spread of AI-generated material online.

The Stand explained Good’s letter calls for “swift action” against the offensive and threatening material.

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“The letter describes how starting in 2019, advances in AI enabled a perpetrator to upload a single image of a victim, and within seconds, CSAM could be generated. Within just one year, the letter notes, ‘the AI application had already been used to target over 100,000 individuals,” the report said.

The letter cites reports that despite CSAM being illegal, there have been no prosecutions by the DOJ.

Circuit courts already have concluded that the computer-generated material can be used as evidence in prosecutions that are begun under existing child porn and obscenity laws.

The letter is not the first to raise the concern, The Stand reported. Only a week ago attorneys general from all 50 states plus four territories signed a similar letter urging Congress to review AI child exploitation.

“While internet crimes against children are already being actively prosecuted, we are concerned that AI is creating a new frontier for abuse that makes prosecution more difficult. We are engaged in a race against time to protect the children of our country from the dangers of AI. Indeed, the proverbial walls of the city have already been breached. Now is the time to act,” they wrote.

The concerns are well-placed, according to Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council.

“The kinds of depravity that find community on the internet and even in real life are shocking and difficult to combat,” she said in The Stand report. “I am grateful to Rep. Good for confronting this problem. All 50 AGs have joined in a letter requesting federal intervention. That kind of bipartisan engagement is rare, and it’s comforting to see that elected officials are willing to set aside differences to protect children and combat the sexual abuse of children.”

The congressional letter insists Garland describe how the DOJ is addressing the threats from AI-generated CSAM, whether the criminal law needs to be updated to provide for prosecutions, and whether the DOJ will launch an investigation into the AI material.

“While recognizing the benefits of appropriate uses of AI, including medical research, cybersecurity defense, streamlining public transit, and many other applications, we believe action must be taken to prevent individuals from using AI to generate (child sexual abuse materials).”

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