Artificial Intelligence: Offences against Children

Home Office written question – answered at on 25 October 2023.

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Photo of Damian Green Damian Green Conservative, Ashford

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking to prevent the proliferation of AI-generated child sexual abuse imagery.

Photo of Damian Green Damian Green Conservative, Ashford

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent progress her Department has made on reducing AI-generated child sex abuse imagery.

Photo of Sarah Dines Sarah Dines The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Government remains firmly committed to tackling all forms of child sexual abuse online and in our communities across the UK and internationally. Our approach is underpinned by the Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy which sets out firm commitments to drive action across the whole system.

The law in the UK is very clear with regards to production of child sexual abuse material. It is an offence to produce, store, share or search for any material that contains or depicts child sexual abuse, regardless of whether the material depicts a ‘real’ child or not. This prohibition also includes pseudo-imagery that may have been computer-generated.

Home Office investment supports the National Crime Agency to use its unique capabilities to disrupt the highest harm offenders, safeguard children and remove the most horrific child sexual abuse material from the internet, including on the dark web.

The Home Office has recently rolled out new tools linked to our world leading Child Abuse Image Database to support law enforcement to identify offenders and safeguard victims more quickly.

All companies that utilise Artificial Intelligence must incorporate safety measures to ensure their technology cannot be manipulated by offenders of this abhorrent crime. We welcome further engagement with industries to work together to implement or create the best solution for their platforms.

As part of the Government’s work to tackle child sexual abuse offences in every form, the Government has driven forward the Online Safety Bill, which will soon gain royal assent and become law. The strongest protections in the Online Safety Bill are for children and all companies in scope of the legislation will need to tackle child sexual abuse material as a priority.

In September, the Home Secretary met US Secretary of State Alejandro N. Majorkas at NCMEC and reaffirmed their commitment to combined expertise of the UK and United States to ensure perpetrators of child sexual abuse and exploitation cannot operate across continents.

In partnership with the IWF, the Home Office will be hosting an AI Summit side event to discuss the growing threat of generative artificial intelligence creating child sexual abuse material. The summit will bring international stakeholders together to encourage co-operation to tackle this heinous crime.

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