All States Push for Congress to Investigate AI in Child Abuse

All States Push for Congress to Investigate AI in Child Abuse

  • In-one-sentence: All 50 U.S. state attorneys general have jointly called on Congress to form a specialized committee that will investigate and counteract the potential use of AI in child exploitation.
  • Main idea: The attorneys general are urging Congress to create a committee to explore how AI can be used in the creation of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), citing the ease with which bad actors can misuse current AI technologies for such purposes.
  • What’s ahead: The call for action puts pressure on the U.S. legislative body to not only broaden existing laws on CSAM but also to catch up with regions like the European Union in providing a comprehensive framework for AI regulation, especially as it relates to child safety.

All 50 US state attorneys general are urging the legislative body to form a committee to delve into the ramifications of AI concerning child exploitation, following a recent reveal by The Associated Press. The correspondence sent to Congress emphasizes the dire need for this committee to conceive preventive measures against AI-driven child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

Deepfake dangers

Within the letter’s framework, it’s stressed that malicious entities have the capability to leverage AI, using pictures of both victimized and non-victimized children, to produce convincing deepfakes. Moreover, they can generate “new and realistic sexualized images of children who do not exist, but who may resemble actual children.” The attorneys general further note the distressing reality that current AI utilities simplify this heinous act.

United front

Spearheaded by South Carolina’s Attorney General Alan Wilson, the push unites all 50 state attorneys general, along with their counterparts in four territories, in the call for congressional action. The collective plea is for the establishment of a specialized committee to “study the means and methods of AI that can be used to exploit children.” They also recommend an extension of “existing restrictions on CSAM to explicitly cover AI-generated CSAM.”

EU vs US

While the U.S. government has started to probe the ethical implications of AI—highlighted by a surprisingly congenial Senate hearing on AI governance following the Biden administration’s announcement of an ethical AI initiative in May—there remains a lack of comprehensive legislative framework to oversee AI. This contrasts sharply with the European Union, which has already set wheels in motion to regulate the technology.

Legislative gap

“While we know Congress is aware of concerns surrounding AI, and legislation has been recently proposed at both the state and federal level to regulate AI generally, much of the focus has been on national security and education concerns. And while those interests are worthy of consideration, the safety of children should not fall through the cracks when evaluating the risks of AI,” the letter reads.