Explicit AI “deepfakes’ involving children in Ontario have authorities on alert

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Published June 24, 2024 at 3:27 pm

Authorties warn of explicit AI "deepfakes' involving children in Ontario

Although explicit AI images of young people might be fake, authorities say they still have the power to drastically impact people’s lives.

Recently, the Canadian Centre for the Protection of Children (C3P) put out a public call for awareness on the prevalence of AI-generated content that incorporates explicit imagery of young individuals. 

According to C3P, the organization and the OPP are looking to arm parents with information that will help them keep pace with the advancement of technology that can put children at risk. 

Information provided by CP3 included breakdowns on “Deepfakes” — audio or video-based imagery that uses AI to look and sound authentic.

According to data collected from Cybertip.ca, C3P administrators have collected an approximate number of flagged explicit AI-generated images. According to the data collected, there were nearly 4,000 sexually explicit deepfakes of children and youth documented this year alone. 

“This is a serious and growing risk to youth that is only going to escalate while kids are at home with extra free time over the summer… The images may be faked, but the damage caused to victims is very real,” said C3P’s Director of Education, Noni Classen, in an official statement. 

As a result, CP3 has developed an online resource that will give parents across Ontario suggestions on how to talk with their children about the risks of AI-generated imagery that has been escalating in online spheres. Additional information indicates that these online safety programs are designed to help youths highly engaged in online activity, specifically children in grades nine to 12. 

OPP Detective Staff Sergeant Tim Brown of the Provincial Strategy to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation on the Internet said that immediate action needs to be taken.

“We need everyone’s support to combat this community issue. If you see something, report it. Together, we can create a safer environment for all children, ensuring their well-being and protection,” he said in a statement. 

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