12404153085?profile=RESIZE_400xTwo teenage boys from Miami, FL, were arrested in December of last year for allegedly creating and sharing AI-generated nude images of male and female classmates without consent, according to police reports obtained via a public record request. The arrest reports say the boys, aged 13 and 14, created the images of the students “between the ages of 12 and 13.”  For readers who have watched the 1981 sex comedy film “Porky’s,” this mischief is similar but is a 21st-century version.  https://www.justwatch.com/us/movie/porkys

The Florida case appears to be the first arrest and criminal charges as a result of the alleged sharing of AI-generated nude images to come to light.  The boys were charged with third-degree felonies, the same level of crimes as grand theft auto or false imprisonment under a state law passed in 2022, which makes it a felony to share “any altered sexual depiction” of a person without their consent.[1]

The parent of one of the boys arrested did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication. The parent of the other boy said that he had “no comment.” The detective assigned to the case and the state attorney handling the case also did not respond in time for publication.

As AI image-making tools have become more widely available, there have been several high-profile incidents in which minors allegedly created AI-generated nude images of classmates and shared them without consent.  No arrests have been disclosed in the publicly reported cases at Issaquah High School in Washington, Westfield High School in New Jersey, and Beverly Vista Middle School in California, even though police reports were filed.  At Issaquah High School, police opted not to press charges.

The first media reports of the Florida case appeared in December 2023, saying that the two boys were suspended from Pinecrest Cove Academy in Miami for 10 days after school administrators learned of allegations that they created and shared fake nude images without consent.  After parents of the victims learned about the incident, several began publicly urging the school to expel the boys.

Nadia Khan-Roberts, the mother of one of the victims, told NBC Miami in December that for all of the families whose children were victimized, the incident was traumatizing.  “Our daughters do not feel comfortable walking the same hallways with these boys,” she said.  “It makes me feel violated, I feel taken advantage [of] and I feel used,” one victim, who asked to remain anonymous, told the TV station.

Reporters obtained arrest records this week that say the incident was reported to police on 06 December 2023 and that the two boys were arrested on 22 December 2023.  The records accuse the pair of using “an artificial intelligence application” to make the fake explicit images.  The app's name was not specified, and the reports claim the boys shared the pictures.  “The incident was reported to a school administrator,” the reports say, without specifying who reported it or how that person found out about the images.  After the school administrator “obtained copies of the altered images,” the administrator interviewed the victims depicted in them, the reports say, who said they did not consent to the images being created.   After their arrest, the two boys accused of making the images were transported to the Juvenile Service Department “without incident,” the reports say.

Currently, a few US states have laws on the books that target fake, nonconsensual nude images.  There is no federal law targeting the practice. Still, a group of US senators recently introduced a bill to combat the problem after fake naked photos of Taylor Swift were created and distributed widely on X.  The boys were charged under a Florida law passed in 2022 that state legislators designed to curb harassment involving deepfake images made using AI-powered tools.

Stephanie Cagnet Myron, a Florida lawyer who represents victims of non-consensually shared nude images, stated that anyone who creates fake naked pictures of a minor would own child sexual abuse material or CSAM.  However, she claims it is likely that the two boys accused of making and sharing the material were not charged with CSAM possession due to their age.  “There are specifically several crimes that you can charge in a case, and you have to evaluate the strongest chance of winning, what has the highest likelihood of success, and if you include too many charges, is it just going to confuse the jury?” Cagnet Myron added.

Mary Anne Franks, a professor at the George Washington University School of Law and a lawyer who has studied the problem of nonconsensual explicit imagery, says it’s “odd” that Florida’s revenge porn law, which predates the 2022 statute under which the boys were charged, only makes the offense a misdemeanor, while this situation represented a felony.  “It is strange to me that you impose heftier penalties for fake nude photos than for real ones,” she says.

Franks adds that although she believes distributing nonconsensual fake explicit images should be a criminal offense, thus creating a deterrent effect, she does not believe offenders should be incarcerated, especially not juveniles.  “The first thing I think about is how young the victims are and worried about the kind of impact on them,” Franks says.  “But then [I] also question whether or not throwing the book at kids is going to be effective here.”

Please note that the accused are minors, 12-13 years of age.


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[1] https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2024/03/florida-middle-schoolers-charged-with-making-deepfake-nudes-of-classmates/

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