Offenders confused about ethics of AI child sex abuse

A charity warns that creating or viewing such images is still illegal, even if the children are not real

Neil, not his real name, contacted the helpline after being arrested for creating AI images. The 43-year-old denied that he had any sexual attraction to children. The IT worker, who used AI software to make his indecent images of children using text prompts, said he would never view such images of real children because he is not attracted to them.

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation (LFF), which offers support to people who are concerned about their thoughts or behavior, says an increasing number of callers are feeling confused about the ethics of viewing AI child abuse imagery.

All he said was that he was captivated by the technology.

Call handlers informed him that his activities were unlawful, regardless of whether the children were genuine when he phoned the LFF in an attempt to comprehend his views.

According to the organization, it has received similar calls from confused people.

After learning that her 26-year-old partner had seen graphic AI photos of toddlers, another caller contacted to express disbelief since the images “aren’t real.” Now, the perpetrator has requested assistance.

Because her 37-year-old boyfriend was seeing what appeared to be unlawful photographs, but neither of them was positive whether they were, a teacher sought the charity for guidance.

According to LFF’s Donald Findlater, some callers to its private Stop It Now helpline believe that AI pictures are blurring the lines between what is unlawful and ethically wrong.

“This is a hazardous viewpoint. Some offenders believe that creating or viewing this content is OK since no children are harmed, but this is incorrect, he explains.

In other circumstances, AI abuse photographs may be incorrectly labeled or sold as AI-made, and the difference in realism is becoming more difficult to detect.

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According to Mr Findlater, aberrant sexual fantasies are the biggest predictor of recidivism for anyone convicted of a sexual offense.

“If you feed that deviant fantasy, then you’re making it more likely you’re going to harm children,” he said.

According to the charity, the number of calls mentioning AI graphics as the basis for their offense is still modest, but it is increasing. The organization is pushing society to identify the issue and policymakers to take action to restrict the ease with which child sexual abuse material (CSAM) is created and released online.

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