Advocates Call for Stronger Protections Against Deepfake Nudes Targeting Teens

by Lucas Garcia
Deepfake Nudes

A mother and her 14-year-old daughter are championing the cause for enhanced safeguards for victims, following the distribution of AI-generated nude images of the teen and her female classmates within a New Jersey high school. Simultaneously, on the opposite side of the country, authorities are investigating an incident where a teenage boy allegedly employed artificial intelligence to create and share similar explicit images of fellow students, all teenage girls, in a suburban Seattle, Washington high school.

These unsettling cases have thrust the issue of explicit AI-generated content back into the spotlight, particularly its disproportionately harmful impact on women and children. Shockingly, independent researcher Genevieve Oh’s analysis, shared with Big Big News, reveals that over 143,000 new deepfake videos were posted online this year alone, surpassing the combined total of all previous years.

Families affected by this distressing phenomenon are urgently pressing for legislative solutions to protect victims whose images are manipulated using emerging AI models, as well as through numerous apps and websites openly advertising these services. Advocates and legal experts are calling for federal regulations that can establish consistent protections nationwide, delivering a resounding message to potential perpetrators.

Dorota Mani, whose daughter was among the victims in Westfield, New Jersey, stated emphatically, “We’re fighting for our children. They are not Republicans, and they are not Democrats. They don’t care. They just want to be loved, and they want to be safe.”

The deepfake predicament is not new, but experts emphasize that it is escalating as the technology becomes increasingly accessible and user-friendly. Throughout this year, researchers have sounded alarms regarding the proliferation of AI-generated child sexual abuse material, incorporating depictions of real victims and virtual characters. In June, the FBI issued a warning, indicating that they continued to receive reports from victims, both minors and adults, whose photos or videos were manipulated to create explicit content shared online.

Various states have passed their own laws over the years to combat the problem, but these laws vary in scope. Texas, Minnesota, and New York recently enacted legislation criminalizing nonconsensual deepfake pornography, joining Virginia, Georgia, and Hawaii. Some states, such as California and Illinois, have provided victims the ability to sue perpetrators for damages in civil court.

State Sen. Kristin Corrado, who introduced the legislation earlier this year, noted her involvement was prompted by concerns about individuals attempting to circumvent revenge porn laws by employing their former partners’ images to generate deepfake pornography. The bill, although initially slow-moving, now has a strong chance of passing, especially in light of the Westfield incident.

The Westfield incident occurred during the summer and was reported to the high school on October 20. However, details regarding the dissemination of AI-generated images were not disclosed. While the school has not confirmed disciplinary actions, Westfield police and the Union County Prosecutor’s office have not responded to inquiries.

The incident in Washington state, which transpired in October, remains under investigation. Paula Schwan, chief of the Issaquah Police Department, indicated that multiple search warrants have been obtained, and the investigation is ongoing. The Issaquah School District, when contacted, acknowledged the investigation and stated that any form of bullying, harassment, or mistreatment among students is unacceptable.

If officials decide to prosecute the New Jersey incident, current state laws prohibiting the sexual exploitation of minors may apply. However, such protections do not extend to adults who may find themselves in similar scenarios.

Mary Anne Franks, a law professor at George Washington University leading the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, emphasized the need for federal legislation to provide consistent protections across the nation. Such legislation could also penalize organizations profiting from products and apps that facilitate deepfake creation. Franks believes that this would also serve as a strong deterrent to minors tempted to create explicit images of their peers.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order in October, which included measures to prevent the use of generative AI for child sexual abuse material and non-consensual intimate imagery of real individuals. The order also directs the federal government to issue guidance for labeling and watermarking AI-generated content to differentiate between authentic and software-generated material.

U.S. Rep. Tom Kean, Jr., responding to the Westfield incident, introduced a bill requiring developers to provide disclosures on AI-generated content. Additionally, U.S. Rep. Joe Morelle introduced a federal bill that would make sharing deepfake porn images online illegal. However, congressional gridlock has impeded its progress.

Some advocate caution in legislative efforts, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and The Media Coalition. They emphasize the need for careful consideration to avoid proposals that may infringe on First Amendment rights.

Mani, in response to her daughter’s ordeal, has established a website and charity to aid AI victims. She and her daughter have also engaged with state lawmakers advocating for the New Jersey bill and plan to visit Washington to promote enhanced protections.

Mani concludes, “Not every child, boy or girl, will have the support system to deal with this issue, and they might not see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Deepfake Nudes

What is the focus of the article?

The article discusses the urgent need for stronger laws and protections against deepfake nudes, particularly those targeting teenagers, as the proliferation of AI-generated explicit content continues.

Why are advocates calling for stronger laws?

Advocates are calling for stronger laws because AI-generated deepfake content, especially explicit material, is on the rise and disproportionately harms women and children. They aim to protect victims and deter potential perpetrators.

How serious is the problem of deepfake nudes?

The problem is growing rapidly, with over 143,000 new deepfake videos posted online in one year, according to an analysis. It has prompted widespread concern, with law enforcement and lawmakers taking notice.

What actions have some states taken to combat deepfake pornography?

Several states have enacted laws criminalizing nonconsensual deepfake pornography. Some have allowed victims to sue perpetrators for damages in civil court. However, these laws vary in scope.

Why is federal legislation being advocated?

Advocates argue that federal legislation is necessary to provide consistent protections nationwide and penalize organizations profiting from deepfake creation. It would also send a strong message to minors tempted to create such content.

What is the role of President Joe Biden’s executive order?

President Biden’s executive order aims to prevent the use of generative AI for child sexual abuse material and non-consensual intimate imagery. It also directs the government to issue guidance for labeling AI-generated content.

What concerns do civil liberties organizations have?

Organizations like the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation caution against overbroad legislation that may infringe on First Amendment rights. They emphasize the need for careful consideration in crafting laws.

How are victims and their families getting involved?

Victims and their families are actively engaging with lawmakers, advocating for stronger legislation, and raising awareness. Some have even established charities and websites to help AI victims.

More about Deepfake Nudes

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GrammarPolice December 2, 2023 - 8:02 pm

Some errors in the comments, but important topic!

CryptoKing23 December 3, 2023 - 3:36 am

AI-made adult pics, no joke, gets worse, but laws tricky

Reader01 December 3, 2023 - 5:41 am

whoa! deepfakes are bad stuff, growin fast, need better laws

AdvocateMom December 3, 2023 - 10:33 am

Dang! makin a diff, fams & victims fightin back

PolicyNerd December 3, 2023 - 10:56 am

Biden signs order, cool, labels on AI stuff, hope it helps


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