Published in AI

Court charges 15 schoolchildren over AI deepfakes

by on10 July 2024

Generated images of female classmates

A court in south-west Spain has sentenced 15 schoolchildren to a year’s probation for creating and spreading AI-generated images of their female classmates.

Police began investigating last year after parents in the town of Almendralejo, Extremadura, reported that fake naked pictures of their daughters were being shared in WhatsApp groups.

The mother of one of the victims said the pictures had been circulating on WhatsApp since July.

“Many girls were completely terrified and had tremendous anxiety attacks because they were suffering this in silence. They felt bad and were afraid to tell and be blamed for it.”

On Tuesday, a youth court in Badajoz convicted the minors of 20 counts of creating child abuse images and 20 counts of offences against their victims’ moral integrity.

Each defendant was given a year’s probation and ordered to attend classes on gender and equality awareness and the “responsible use of technology”.

“The sentence notes that it has been proved that the minors used artificial intelligence applications to obtain manipulated images of [other minors] by taking girls’ original faces from their social media profiles and superimposing those images on the bodies of naked female bodies” the court said in a statement. “The manipulated photos were then shared on two WhatsApp groups.”

Police identified several teenagers aged between 13 and 15 responsible for generating and sharing the images.

Under Spanish law, minors under 14 cannot be charged, but their cases are sent to child protection services, which can require them to take part in rehabilitation courses.

The Malvaluna Association, which represented the affected families, said the case had implications for wider Spanish society.

It said the case highlighted the need for proper sex education at school so that children do not learn about sex from pornography, which “generates more sexism and violence”.

Last modified on 10 July 2024
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