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Predators making thousands of AI images of real child victims - new data shows

An example of an AI-generated picture

Pixabay


Thousands of AI-generated images depicting children being subjected to sexual abuse have been discovered online.

This is according to new data published on Wednesday by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).

The foundation says these images, showing the worst kind of sexual abuse, are now realistic enough to be treated as real imagery under UK law*.

The IWF, which is the UK organisation responsible for detecting and removing child sexual abuse imagery from the internet, said International collaboration was now vital as 'real world' abuses of AI escalate.

Their study, which focused on a single dark web forum dedicated to child sexual abuse imagery, showed disturbing results.

Real children are appearing in abuse imagery, whose faces and bodies have been built into AI models designed to reproduce new images of these children.

Some images even showed celebrities being 'de-aged' and depicted as children in abuse scenarios.

The IWF says in a single month they investigated 11 108 AI images shared on the dark web which contained images of rape, sexual torture, bestiality and infants.

The Chief Executive of the IWF, Susie Hargreaves called for international collaboration on the threats posed by AI.

"Chillingly, we are seeing criminals deliberately training their AI on real victims’ images who have already suffered abuse. Children who have been raped in the past are now being incorporated into new scenarios because someone, somewhere, wants to see it," she said.

Another concern raised by IWF was that AI images would soon become indistinguishable from real pictures resulting in police spending time investigating AI images.