Congress urged to study the use of Artificial Intelligence to exploit children online

Officials are calling it: "a race against time to protect children from the dangers of artificial intelligence"
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 6:16 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2023 at 6:34 PM CDT
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BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - It’s a concern attorneys general across the nation are calling ‘a race against time to protect children from the dangers of artificial intelligence’.

Earlier this month, all 50 AG’s signed a letter asking Congress to act now to prevent the exploitation of children through AI technology.

It’s an industry changing so quickly and growing so rapidly on the dark web that it’s hard to keep up with artificial intelligence.

“Unfortunately, with where we are now, our law are already so far behind and they just keep falling behind by the day,” said Sgt. Detective Matthew Wilson with Brown County Sheriff’s Office. He specializes in internet crimes against children (ICAC).

Wilson said AI is changing the landscape for generating so-called ‘victimless’ child sexual abuse material. Without an actual victim, it’s hard to prosecute under current laws.

“Normally on our child pornography cases, I would say probably about 50% of these people who possess it have some sort of anime, which is essentially just child pornography, but a cartoon character,” said Wilson. “So it’s legal to possess anime, just like currently it’s legal to possess AI child pornography because there’s not an actual true victim.”

Wilson said it’s legal for people to possess AI generated photos even if it includes photo-shopping the face of a real person onto an AI-generated body.

“They probably got that from your open source, Facebook, Instagram or whatever the case may be. So they legally possessed it because you put it out on the internet for everybody to see,” said Wilson. “We have had cases in the last couple of years with ai generated child pornography, where we haven’t been able to charge out because it’s not against the law to possess that.”

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said it’s a flay in the system. It’s the reason he signed a letter to Congress urging them to create an expert commission to study the means and methods of AI that can be used to exploit children and propose legislation to protect them.

“One important way we do that is by holding people accountable through investigations and potentially prosecutions where there are crimes against children. Preventing technological developments from exacerbating those crimes or causing new harm to kids is a part of that effort,” said Kaul.

“I think the message is pretty clear. We are coming for you. We want it to be illegal, because to us, it’s just as bad as an actual victim,” said Wilson.

The urge to Congress also comes with a plea to parents to monitor their child’s activity on the internet and limit the amount of information and photos posted online.

It's a concern attorneys general across the nation are calling a race against time to protect children from the dangers of artificial intelligence.