Rising tide of AI-generated child sexual abuse images on internet

The IWF has identified nearly 3,000 of these disturbing images, and criminals are deliberately using AI to create explicit content. This issue demands immediate attention to prevent it from overwhelming the web. The UK government is preparing to take action through the online safety bill

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The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has issued an alert regarding the increasing prevalence of AI-generated child sexual abuse imagery, which it perceives as a growing menace to the internet. The IWF has detected nearly 3,000 images created by AI that infringe upon UK laws. There are concerns that actual images of abuse victims are being used to instruct AI models, resulting in the production of new, explicit content. Additionally, AI is being utilized to craft inappropriate visuals involving celebrities artificially made to appear younger and to alter pictures of clothed children found online. The IWF’s latest report highlights a worrisome surge in the use of AI for such nefarious purposes.

This technology represents a genuine threat as it is being actively employed by wrongdoers to train AI using genuine victims’ images. The IWF is apprehensive that the proliferation of AI-generated child sexual abuse material (CSAM) could divert law enforcement resources from detecting real instances of abuse. This underscores the pressing need to address this issue before it inundates the internet. The UK government is in the process of enacting legislation to tackle AI-generated CSAM as part of the online safety bill, which will mandate social media companies to prevent its dissemination on their platforms.

Why does this matter?

The use of AI to create these images represents a disturbing advancement in technology. It highlights the potential for AI to be misused for criminal purposes, raising concerns about the misuse of technology in other areas. The proliferation of AI-generated abuse images can divert law enforcement resources away from detecting real abuse cases. This threatens the ability to rescue and protect actual victims.