Attorney General Brown Urges Congress to Study AI and Its Harmful Effects on Children

September 18, 2023

As part of a 54-state and territory bipartisan coalition, Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown joined a letter urging Congress to study how artificial intelligence (AI) can and is being used to exploit children through child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and to propose legislation to protect children from those abuses.

The danger of AI as it relates to CSAM is in three main categories: the likeness of a real child, who has not been physically abused, being digitally altered to depict abuse; a real child who has been physically abused being digitally recreated in other depictions of abuse; and a fictitious child being digitally created in a depiction of abuse that feeds the market for CSAM.

The letter states, “AI is also being used to generate child sexual abuse material (CSAM). For example, AI tools can rapidly and easily create ‘deepfakes’ by studying real photographs of abused children to generate new images showing those children in sexual positions.

This involves overlaying the face of one person on the body of another. Deepfakes can also be generated by overlaying photographs of otherwise unvictimized children on the internet with photographs of abused children to create new CSAM involving the previously unharmed children.”

“The terrifying truth is that for all its potential benefits, artificial intelligence can also be used to hurt children and perpetrate child sexual abuse. With support from states, Congress must act now to get ahead of this manipulation of AI that could have such tragic consequences,” said Attorney General Brown. “We must work together to eradicate the use of this technology to exploit and harm kids.”

The coalition is asking Congress to form a commission to study specifically how AI can 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.”

In submitting the letter, Attorney General Brown joins the Attorneys General of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia. Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, 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.