- Attorney General Rob Bonta and a bipartisan coalition of 54 states and territories call on Congress to establish an expert commission to address AI’s role in child exploitation.
- AI technologies are increasingly used to manipulate children, mimic their voices, and create disturbing deepfake content.
- California’s commitment to child safety and responsible AI regulation is underscored by recent law enforcement efforts.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta has taken a leading role in a collective effort involving 54 states and territories to combat the alarming surge in child exploitation facilitated by artificial intelligence (AI). Together, they have called upon Congressional leaders to establish an expert commission tasked with investigating the insidious use of AI in exploiting children through child sexual abuse material (CSAM).
The commission’s crucial mission extends beyond investigation to proposing legislative measures aimed at protecting the most vulnerable members of society, our children. This initiative demonstrates a united commitment to safeguarding innocence and ensuring that technology remains a force for good rather than a tool for harm.
In this determined collaborative effort, Attorney General Rob Bonta and his counterparts are resolutely addressing the pressing issue of child exploitation, particularly in the context of AI.
Their plea to Congress highlights the need for an expert commission to both comprehensively investigate AI-driven child exploitation tactics and propose effective legislative safeguards, all aimed at protecting our society’s youngest and most defenseless members from harm. This initiative represents a shared commitment to harnessing technology responsibly and preserving the well-being of our children in an increasingly digital world.
The threat of AI-driven child exploitation
AI’s capacity to exploit children’s vulnerabilities is a growing concern, as highlighted by Attorney General Bonta and his counterparts. One of the alarming facets of this threat is AI’s ability to pinpoint a child’s location and replicate their voice.
For instance, even with a brief voice recording, AI tools can clone a voice and generate false statements that the individual never uttered. Shockingly, these AI-driven manipulations have even facilitated fraudulent kidnappings. Such capabilities pose a grave danger to children’s safety.
Perhaps even more disturbingly, AI technologies can generate convincing “deepfakes” featuring children. Deepfakes, deceptive videos or images that appear genuine, can be created using AI, leveraging authentic photographs of abused children to fabricate new explicit content. Also, AI can overlay pictures of unharmed children onto images of victims, producing a sinister blend of innocent faces in distressing situations. These developments underscore the urgency of addressing AI-driven exploitation of children.
Attorney General Rob Bonta’s dedication to safeguarding children’s well-being and ensuring the responsible development and regulation of AI is evident in his recent initiatives. In August 2023, Bonta announced the results of “Operation Bad Barbie” in Kern County.
This operation targeted adults seeking to sexually exploit children by deploying undercover agents and detectives posing as minors offering sexual services on online platforms commonly used by victims of sex trafficking. The successful arrests demonstrated California’s commitment to cracking down on child exploitation.
Nationwide call to action
Attorney General Bonta’s collaboration with 54 states and territories in sending this letter to Congressional leaders underscores the national urgency to address the threats posed by AI. The bipartisan coalition comprises attorneys general from across the political spectrum, from Alabama to Wyoming. While Congress has recognized the broader dangers of AI, this collective effort emphasizes that the safety of children must not be overlooked. Protecting children from AI-driven exploitation is a shared responsibility that transcends party lines.
The collaboration led by Attorney General Rob Bonta and the coalition of attorneys general serves as a powerful call to action for Congress to confront the growing issue of AI-driven child exploitation. The need to establish an expert commission to investigate and address this alarming trend is clear. AI’s ability to manipulate children’s voices and create deepfake content is a grave threat that demands immediate attention.
Attorney General Bonta’s commitment to child safety, as demonstrated through law enforcement efforts and his role in this coalition, underscores the urgency of the matter. As AI continues to advance, it is essential to ensure that its potential for harm is met with robust legislative safeguards to protect the most vulnerable among us—our children.
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