In Washington DC, a senator from Tennessee is working to address crime against children in this everchanging technology-focused world. U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) are launching a bipartisan inquiry to protect children from online sex abuse content generated by artificial intelligence.
In a letter explaining some of the problems with artificial intelligence creating images that resemble real children, Senator Blackburn wrote, "While these images may not depict real children, they impede law enforcement efforts to identify real-life child victims. In the interest of protecting our most vulnerable citizens from this growing threat, we seek clarity on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) efforts to address this pressing issue.” That letter, dated July 25, 2023, was sent to the Honorable Merrick Garland, U.S. Attorney General.
Senators Blackburn and Ossoff, Ranking Member and Chairman of the Senate Human Rights Subcommittee, called on Attorney General Garland and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to increase resources needed to prosecute cases involving the creation of child sex abuse material (CSAM) through artificial intelligence technology.
“DOJ officials who combat child exploitation say that such images still violate federal child protection laws, even if the child shown is AI-generated. According to reports, however, the officials were unable to cite any cases where a suspect had been charged for creating one. Given the proliferation of AI-generated CSAM, the absence of charges or successful prosecutions raises concerns about the effectiveness of our current legal framework in combating this heinous crime,” wrote the senators.
According to experts, the quick development of artificial intelligence has enabled predators to create and distribute AI-generated CSAM online, adding more challenges to law enforcement agencies working to help victims of child abuse.
These alarming developments are now a growing threat for vulnerable citizens and are raising concerns about the effectiveness of the current efforts by the DOJ to combat this crime.
This year, Senators Blackburn and Ossoff also introduced the bipartisan REPORT Act to combat the rise in child sexual abuse material online, which passed the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and is a step closer to becoming law.
See Blackburn and Ossoff’s bipartisan inquiry to the DOJ here.
Source: U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn