The European Union (EU) is contemplating criminalizing AI-generated imagery depicting child sexual abuse (CSA) and introducing a new offense for livestreaming such abuse.
The proposed updates are part of broader legislation aimed at preventing CSA, including criminalizing the possession and exchange of “pedophile manuals.” The EU seeks to amend existing legislation from 2011 to address evolving technology challenges. The proposal follows the controversial draft legislation requiring digital services to scan and report child sexual abuse material.
Key aspects of the child sexual abuse proposal
- Expanded Offence Definitions: The proposal broadens the scope of criminal offences, encompassing livestreaming of child sexual abuse and the possession and exchange of pedophile manuals. Updated definitions now cover child sexual abuse material in deep fakes or AI-generated content.
- Prosecution, Prevention, and Support: Longer reporting periods for victims, a right to financial compensation, and a coordination mechanism for prevention and victim assistance programs are central to the strengthened approach.
- Enhanced Prevention Measures: Member States are urged to increase investments in awareness programs, particularly addressing online risks. Additional requirements mandate criminal record checks for individuals involved in child-related activities and those working against child sexual abuse.
- Mandatory Reporting: Professionals working closely with children must report offences, addressing a significant challenge in halting child sexual abuse.
The EU’s move to criminalize AI-generated CSA imagery responds to concerns about deepfakes and synthetic content complicating law enforcement efforts. The proposal emphasizes the increased online presence of children and technological developments creating new possibilities for abuse. Ylva Johansson, Commissioner for Home Affairs, highlighted the necessity of a robust legal framework to combat child sexual abuse online effectively.
The proposal also focuses on improving member states’ legal frameworks, addressing differences hindering action against CSA, and enhancing efforts to prevent abuse and assist victims.
The legislative process involves discussions between the EU Parliament and Council to finalize the proposals. While debates on a controversial private-message-scanning plan persist, the new proposals may find more consensus, increasing the chances of adoption. If agreed upon, the amendments to the current directive on combating CSA would come into effect 20 days after publication in the Official Journal of the EU.
Note: The article covers the EU’s consideration of criminalizing AI-generated CSA imagery, outlining the proposed legislative updates, their objectives, and the broader context of combating child sexual abuse.