SEP 05, 2023

Attorney General Alan Wilson urges Congress to study AI and its harmful effects on children

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – Attorney General Alan Wilson led a bipartisan letter of 50 states and 4 territories, with three other cosponsors, urging Congress to study how artificial intelligence (AI) can and is being used to exploit children through child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and to propose legislation to protect children from those abuses.


“I’m the chief prosecutor of the state, but even more importantly, I’m a dad. Doing all I can to ensure children are safe and protected from exploitation is my top priority,” said Attorney General Alan Wilson. “AI brings the potential for a lot of good, but also kicks open the door for a lot wrongdoing. We need to make sure children aren’t harmed as this technology becomes more widespread, and when Congress comes back from recess, we want this request to be one of the first things they see on their desks.”


The dangers of AI as it relates to CSAM is in three main categories: a real child’s likeness who has not been physically abused being digitally altered in a depiction of abuse, a real child who has been physically abused being digitally recreated in other depictions of abuse, and a child who does not even exist being digitally created in a depiction of abuse that feeds the market for CSAM.


The letter states, “AI is also being used to generate child sexual abuse material (CSAM). For example, AI tools can rapidly and easily create “deepfakes” by studying real photographs of abused children to generate new images showing those children in sexual positions. This involves overlaying the face of one person on the body of another. Deepfakes can also be generated by overlaying photographs of otherwise unvictimized children on the internet with photographs of abused children to create new CSAM involving the previously unharmed children.”


Attorney General Wilson and the rest of the coalition ask Congress to form a commission to study specifically how AI can be used to exploit children and to “act to deter and address child exploitation, such as by expanding existing restrictions on CSAM to explicitly cover AI-generated CSAM.”


Attorney General Wilson supports these efforts on a state level as well, recognizing this area is so important it will require federal and state action.


The letter continues, “We are engaged in a race against time to protect the children of our country from the dangers of AI. Indeed, the proverbial walls of the city have already been breached. Now is the time to act.”


You can read the full letter here.


Attorneys general from Mississippi, North Carolina, and Oregon cosponsored the letter. They are also joined by Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming signed the letter.

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