WASHINGTON, DC – Attorney General Brian Schwalb joined a bipartisan coalition of 54 Attorneys General urging Congress to study how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used—and is already being used—to exploit children through the creation of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), and to propose legislation to protect children from these abuses.
“As Attorney General, protecting DC residents—and particularly our children—is my top priority,” said AG Schwalb. “Our office works every day to improve public safety and address the dangers and challenges too many of our kids and families face—from gun violence to unsafe housing to unequal access to opportunity. We are committed to continuing all of this work while also guarding against emerging threats, like child abuse and exploitation enabled by AI. Along with a strong bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from across the country, I’m urging Congress to take immediate and effective action to address emerging technological threats endangering our children.”
AI technology has rapidly advanced and today, AI tools—including image-generation tools—are widely available. While these tools promise immense potential benefits for our society, they also carry the ability to inflict serious harms. One underreported and understudied aspect of the AI problem is the exploitation of children through AI technology.
“As we all learn more about the capabilities of AI, it is becoming increasingly apparent that technology can be used to exploit children in innumerable ways,” write the attorneys general in their letter to Congressional leadership. “AI has the potential to be used to identify someone’s location, mimic their voice, and generate deepfakes.”
AI tools can threaten the physical safety and privacy of children by allowing others to track them and anticipate their real-world locations, and by creating fake images of them or fake recordings of their voices. The attorneys general also write that, disturbingly, AI tools can be used to “[study] real photographs of abused children to generate new images showing those children in sexual positions” or “[overlay] photographs of otherwise unvictimized children on the internet with photographs of abused children to create new CSAM involving the previously unharmed children.”
AG Schwalb and the bipartisan coalition is urging Congress to form a commission to study specifically how AI could 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.”
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.”
AG Schwalb was joined by Attorneys General from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia. Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
A copy of the coalition’s letter to Congress is available here.