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posted by hubie on Saturday September 09 2023, @01:42AM   Printer-friendly
from the think-of-the-AI-generated-children dept.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2023/09/ai-generated-child-sex-imagery-has-every-us-attorney-general-calling-for-action/

On Wednesday, American attorneys general from all 50 states and four territories sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to establish an expert commission to study how generative AI can be used to exploit children through child sexual abuse material (CSAM). They also call for expanding existing laws against CSAM to explicitly cover AI-generated materials.

"As Attorneys General of our respective States and territories, we have a deep and grave concern for the safety of the children within our respective jurisdictions," the letter reads. "And while Internet crimes against children are already being actively prosecuted, we are concerned that AI is creating a new frontier for abuse that makes such prosecution more difficult."

In particular, open source image synthesis technologies such as Stable Diffusion allow the creation of AI-generated pornography with ease, and a large community has formed around tools and add-ons that enhance this ability. Since these AI models are openly available and often run locally, there are sometimes no guardrails preventing someone from creating sexualized images of children, and that has rung alarm bells among the nation's top prosecutors. (It's worth noting that Midjourney, DALL-E, and Adobe Firefly all have built-in filters that bar the creation of pornographic content.)

"Creating these images is easier than ever," the letter reads, "as anyone can download the AI tools to their computer and create images by simply typing in a short description of what the user wants to see. And because many of these AI tools are 'open source,' the tools can be run in an unrestricted and unpoliced way."

As we have previously covered, it has also become relatively easy to create AI-generated deepfakes of people without their consent using social media photos.


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  • (Score: 5, Touché) by Immerman on Saturday September 09 2023, @02:17AM (20 children)

    by Immerman (3985) on Saturday September 09 2023, @02:17AM (#1323774)

    Oh, please won't someone think of the poor children being exploited by twisted adults using AI to generate sexual images of children who never existed?

    Just think, your poor child could be being abused right this moment by some pedophile who, rather than plotting to kidnap them, is directing their dangerous appetites at AI generated porn of nonexistent children!

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Saturday September 09 2023, @05:10AM (10 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Saturday September 09 2023, @05:10AM (#1323783)

    Exactly.

    The rationale for banning pedo material has always been that real children have been molested to produce the material, and therefore making pedo material highly illegal will deter anyone from molesting children to produce it.

    But with AI-generated content, no child was harmed. The material is still disgusting, but the reason for banning it vanishes. And yet, it's still banned.

    Quite frankly, I'd rather pedos got their kicks off fake child porn, so that at least they can relieve their urges without hurting anybody. The AI-generated stuff really should be legalized if for no other reason.

    Incidentally, the nonsense doesn't end there: hentai depicting child abuse too is illegal. Because you know... Think of the cartoon children!

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 09 2023, @07:58AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 09 2023, @07:58AM (#1323792)

      Both real or fake children can be used in training data, clothed or naked, in order to produce fake but photorealistic images of specific children who have or have not been in real pornography.

      In other words, infinite new poses can be created of an existing identifiable child victim, with realism ranging from cartoony to glossy to indistinguishable from a photograph.

      Fifty-four of the worst people in America are on the same page. They will get the new federal law they want. It could take decades before the Supreme Court sorts out the mess, because the criminal defendants have the wrong circumstances, or plead guilt and undermine their appeals. Even then, it's unlikely that the Supreme Court will be amenable to AI-generated porn.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Immerman on Saturday September 09 2023, @02:19PM

        by Immerman (3985) on Saturday September 09 2023, @02:19PM (#1323855)

        So what? A child is harmed by sexual abuse.

        They are NOT harmed by some sick individual who has never met them masturbating to fake images of them being subjected to abuse that never happened.

        And if the individual *does* know them and has become fixated? As creepy and icky as it is, I'd much rather have a pedophile masturbating to fake images of my child being abused, than to kidnap my child to actually abuse them.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by istartedi on Saturday September 09 2023, @07:29PM (7 children)

      by istartedi (123) on Saturday September 09 2023, @07:29PM (#1323898) Journal

      The rationale for banning pedo material has always been that real children have been molested to produce the material

      Only half true. The other rationale is that if it were freely available people might develop a taste for it. That might seem inconceivable since many investigators actually get PTSD from doing their jobs; but they weren't frog-boiled. They were thrown in the deep end. Imagine some porn site algorithm gradually feeding teenagers progressively younger and younger content, progressively more violent content, etc. Some will acquire a taste for it, and the next thing you know you've got a increased segment of society not content with simulations; they start going out and doing the real thing.

      I'm not saying it's valid or not; just that it's an argument for banning that stuff even if it's AI generated and ostensibly "victimless". This is one of those areas where we bump up hard against the idea of free speech being absolute. It isn't. We err on the side of free speech, but we don't err 100%.

      See also, the first time you tried a mild hot sauce and got used to it; vs. the segment of our population that dares people to eat whole Ghost Peppers or the dude who stuck a crystal of pure capsaicin on his tongue (I don't think that one ended well). The psychological theory, and that justification for banning even AI generated CP seems valid to me.

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      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by TheReaperD on Monday September 11 2023, @07:00AM (4 children)

        by TheReaperD (5556) on Monday September 11 2023, @07:00AM (#1324035)

        There's been some evidence that having child sex dolls could reduce the risk of a pedophile attacking a real child, but most CSAM groups have attacked it without any real counter evidence. Everyone, even at the policy level is acting almost entirely on emotion rather than taking the time to gather real evidence to find the best ways to actually protect children. Like we still sell the myth of being wary of the 'creepy stranger' when most child molesters are someone close to the child. Either a family member, teacher, coach, etc. We're so upside down on this issue because of people screaming at the top of their lungs like chickens with their head's cut off rather than anything resembling a national policy.

        --
        Ad eundum quo nemo ante iit
        • (Score: 2) by istartedi on Monday September 11 2023, @05:49PM (3 children)

          by istartedi (123) on Monday September 11 2023, @05:49PM (#1324096) Journal

          If you can site a study, that's interesting. Yes, there are a lot of shrill voices and emotion; but at least a study involving those dolls can be limited. Allowing mass release of AI generated CP, OTOH, can't be done as a limited study so to me the pushback on that seems reasonable. I suppose there could be a study done with a limited number of registered volunteers running over a decade or two; but it's still dicey. I'm assuming the study to which you refer was done with people already predisposed to pedophilia too, so it's a totally different aspect.

          I think what you might be ignoring about the "creepy stranger" focus is that it could actually be working--the children avoid the creeps, and the creeps know that. So the creeps changed their strategy and ran long cons to gain trust instead. Take away stranger danger fear, and suddenly kids are taking candy from white vans again.

          When I was really young, we had the "Boogy man", pronounced the same way as the dance. Then as an adult I heard people writing it like a bogie in golf; but anyway, it was a huge part of our childhood in a fun yet dark way. It was like Halloween, "the boogie man will get ya if you don't watch out". Scary fun. I wonder how much that's still in the culture. We had woods near the house, so of course that's where the boogie man lived. When I got old enough to go out on my own, it was part of growing up to think, "if anybody tries to attack me, I'll fend them off with a sharp stick and/or rocks". It never happened, fortunately. What did really happen is a literal white van drove up to me when I was in jr. high and they said, "do you want to make a deal?". To me that implies drugs more, but I was like "hell no" and pedaled my bike PDQ out of there.

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          • (Score: 2) by TheReaperD on Tuesday September 12 2023, @04:56AM (2 children)

            by TheReaperD (5556) on Tuesday September 12 2023, @04:56AM (#1324151)

            The problem is, it was preliminary and not enough to be conclusive. A dozen dolls and a pedophiles is not a national double-blind study and as far as I know no one has allowed any real study to get off the ground because too many people have already decided which aside they're on, evidence be damned. And that doesn't even take into account the politicians that want to score political points with their bases over actually protecting children. Personally, I'd rather know what actually keeps children safe. For example, instead of teaching 'watch out for the creepy stranger', we should be teaching adults what behaviors children exhibit when they're being abused. It's usually pretty dramatic and noticeable, at first, before they learn to hide it. Now, it's leaves the other side. What minimizes the chances of someone sexually attracted to children actually attacking them? And, I don't know about you, I'd prefer evidence over rhetoric.

            --
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            • (Score: 2) by istartedi on Tuesday September 12 2023, @03:57PM (1 child)

              by istartedi (123) on Tuesday September 12 2023, @03:57PM (#1324234) Journal

              False dichotomy? You can teach children to avoid suspicious strangers *and* teach children what's appropriate from adults they know *and* teach school staff what signs to look for.

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              • (Score: 2) by TheReaperD on Sunday September 17 2023, @09:01AM

                by TheReaperD (5556) on Sunday September 17 2023, @09:01AM (#1325016)

                That would be great, if it were possible. Sadly, at the national policy level, if you expect people to learn a multi-prong nuanced policy, everyone will ignore you and do what some idiot on YouTube or Ticktock says instead. Even when you keep policies simple and focused to a couple of main points, you may still lose out to these people! But, to have any chance of getting people to listen to you, you have to keep it stupid simple and the main points can be remembered in a sentence or two. So, you have to pick your battles and choose the topics that will do the most good for the masses, even though you want to do more. It sucks, but that's reality. So, when I'm talking about points like this, it's not that I wouldn't be for dealing with it all, I'm just realistic to know that we could never make it work as a national policy, as vexing as that is.

                --
                Ad eundum quo nemo ante iit
      • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Wednesday September 13 2023, @07:25PM

        by NotSanguine (285) <reversethis-{grO ... a} {eniugnaStoN}> on Wednesday September 13 2023, @07:25PM (#1324479) Homepage Journal

        Came over here from the "deadly Dorito" article based on your link.

        The argument you're making was made WRT Lolita [wikipedia.org] too. As well as many of Judy Blume's [wikipedia.org] books.

        Shall we ban those too?

        I'd also note that much of the the medical/psychiatric community considers pedophilia to be a sexual orientation [nih.gov] just like heterosexuality or homosexuality. As such, you won't "create" new pedophiles with fictional accounts, art, etc. whether it's AI generated or not.

        That said, understanding this doesn't make acting on such desires appropriate, as prepubescent people don't have the emotional development/capacity to meaningfully consent to such activities.

        I agree that it's important to take action (laws and enforcement of same as well as treatment to address those with such an orientation) to prevent the abuse and exploitation of children, but fiction is fiction in whatever media -- and no child is harmed by fictional accounts.

        Video games, music and other media have also seen demands for it to be banned because "think of the children." Which is a bunch of bullshit.

        N.B.: I have no sexual interest in the prepubescent and am horrified by abuse/exploitation, sexual or otherwise, of kids.

        --
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      • (Score: 2) by darkfeline on Thursday September 14 2023, @08:20AM

        by darkfeline (1030) on Thursday September 14 2023, @08:20AM (#1324583) Homepage

        That argument could be used for violent video games. Actually, it has been used, quite broadly and publicly, and based on all current data, incorrectly.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Username on Saturday September 09 2023, @08:49AM (3 children)

    by Username (4557) on Saturday September 09 2023, @08:49AM (#1323794)

    I think the problem is that investigators cannot tell the difference between real and ai and don't want to investigate each image and just want to declare it all real.

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by driverless on Saturday September 09 2023, @10:31AM (1 child)

      by driverless (4770) on Saturday September 09 2023, @10:31AM (#1323817)

      Well that's not hard to do, if your nonexistent-child image has six fingers, legs with three joints, and a mouth with 90 degree angles in it, then it's AI-generated.

      That's actually another problem, AI generates a lot of anime-style doll-like faces, how is anyone going to be able to tell whether the doll-face attached to the 38DDs is a nonexistent child or a nonexistent adult? Can't these people get back to arguing over the satanic symbolism of pizza slices or something?

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 09 2023, @12:37PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 09 2023, @12:37PM (#1323829)

        We already see AI-generated images that are much better from the latest models. The anatomy needs less or no correction, and they can be much harder to distinguish from photographs.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Immerman on Saturday September 09 2023, @02:23PM

      by Immerman (3985) on Saturday September 09 2023, @02:23PM (#1323857)

      Not really a problem - possessing child porn is already illegal in the US, even if it's hand drawn cartoons.

      This law is specifically about requiring companies to prevent their AI from generating such images... somehow.

      Shall we next pass a law requiring pencil makers to prevent their pencils from being used to draw child porn?

  • (Score: 0, Redundant) by mcgrew on Saturday September 09 2023, @01:53PM (4 children)

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday September 09 2023, @01:53PM (#1323846) Homepage Journal

    Oh, please won't someone think of the poor children being exploited by twisted adults using AI to generate sexual images of children who never existed?

    No different from the poor children being exploited by twisted adults using their artistic skills and twisted imaginations to generate sexual images of children who never existed. Either way, seeing it might encourage a similarly evil, cruel, twisted mind to accost YOUR child and do unspeakable things to him or her.

    I take it you're in favor of child porn?

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    • (Score: 5, Touché) by Immerman on Saturday September 09 2023, @02:14PM (2 children)

      by Immerman (3985) on Saturday September 09 2023, @02:14PM (#1323851)

      Right...because the existence of child porn causes people to become pedophiles.

      I bet the existence of gay porn makes people gay too?

      I'm not buying it.

      • (Score: 1) by pTamok on Saturday September 09 2023, @05:11PM (1 child)

        by pTamok (3042) on Saturday September 09 2023, @05:11PM (#1323879)

        Right...because the existence of child porn causes people to become pedophiles.

        I bet the existence of gay porn makes people gay too?

        I'm not buying it.

        You are right, it is an open question as to whether exposure to paraphilia materials can cause people to become a certain type of paraphile. But it's not actually relevant.

        Let me tell you a story.
        Imagine there are, among all the paraphilias, two kinds of paraphilia. We'll call them Wibble-o-philia and Wobble-o-philia. There is an important difference between them, but I won't say what now.
        If you are living in some rural location, where you are the only Wibble-o-phile (or Wobble-o-phile) and 'coming out' will be socially disadvantageous for you, there is unlikely to be any Wibble-porn or Wobble-porn on open sale. You really don't want anyone to find out. So there's no open market for Wibble-porn or Wobble-porn. Mail order in plain brown packages, or the Internet can help here, but you have to be careful.
        Move home to Bigsville. There's a part of town that has a very open and liberal culture. Nobody will censure you for being a Wibble-o-phile, and you can buy Wibble-porn in the shops. There's a market for Wibble-porn. You can make friends who like wibbling, and you can wibble with them too, and nobody thinks this is wrong. Wibbling is normalised.
        But why, you wonder, is there no Wobble-porn? You ask someone.
        Ah, they say, the reason is that there is a difference between Wibbling and Wobbling. Wibbling is done between consenting adults. They have a choice. Wobbling requires that at least one participant, by definition, cannot consent. So it is illegal. Of course there are people who want to buy Wobble-porn, but because to produce it requires at least one participant who can't consent, the production of Wobble-porn is also illegal.

        So, someone who is a wibble-o-phile might never 'come out' when they live in the socially restrictive rural location, and never meet another wibbler. But once they are in a location where wibbling is normalised, they can come out. Did the Wibble-porn make them into a wibbler, or were they one before their environment changed? Who knows. There may be a lot of wobblers about, but they can't come out, because wobbling is not normalised, and never will be (unless ideas around consent change). Availability of Wobble-porn will tend to normalise wobbling, which might not be a good idea. It doesn't necessary make people into wobblers, but would give them an opportunity to express their wobble-nature.

        The problem with Wobble-porn is that it requires a non-consenting participant. Normalising a situation in which a participant is non-consenting does not sound psychologically healthy to me - even if the Wobble-porn is fictional/artificial, it is basically saying that having non-consenting parties in a sexual activity is OK. That's not healthy. *

        *To move away from Wibble & Wobble, BDSM is enacted between consenting adults (although there are some legal complications depending on jurisdictions, about what you can consent to), and usually has things like safe-words. It is generally not-OK to do sexual stuff to people without informed, positive consent. Minors, by legal definition, cannot consent.

        • (Score: 4, Touché) by Immerman on Saturday September 09 2023, @07:38PM

          by Immerman (3985) on Saturday September 09 2023, @07:38PM (#1323899)

          Two counterpoints:

          1) The internet exists. Who gets porn delivered by mail anymore? Especially socially unacceptable porn. I doubt very much that many people have furry porn delivered to their door, regardless of its legality or a brown envelope.

          2) "Coming out" is a VERY different thing than raping a child. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the more pedophiles there are who "come out", the safer children are likely to be from them.

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by maxwell demon on Saturday September 09 2023, @02:14PM

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Saturday September 09 2023, @02:14PM (#1323852) Journal

      Either way, seeing it might encourage a similarly evil, cruel, twisted mind to accost YOUR child and do unspeakable things to him or her.

      Any hard data on that? Or is it on the same page as the arguments against violent video games?

      And for the record, I'm not for child porn, I'm just against punishing anything that doesn't harm anyone, no matter how disgusting it may be.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.