The teenager asked after dozens of schoolgirls shared apparent AI deepfakes online.

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Police in Australia are investigating the distribution of deepfake pornographic images of schoolgirls.


Sydney
CNN

Australian authorities are investigating the distribution of deepfake pornographic images of around 50 schoolgirls, allegedly created by a teenager using artificial intelligence.

The discovery comes as the federal government is pushing for new laws to hand out prison terms to criminals who create and share images created by AI tools to humiliate and demean victims.

Other countries, including the United States, are trying to address the alarming rise in deepfake porn, where nude deepfakes of schoolgirls are made and shared — in some cases, allegedly at school. By the boys.

Victoria Police confirmed they had arrested and released a young man for further questioning “in relation to explicit images circulating online”.

The images were reportedly created using photos posted on social media by 50 female students at Bacchus Marsh Grammar, a co-educational school in the suburbs of Melbourne in Victoria.

The school's principal, Andrew Neil, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that the victims were girls in grades 9 to 12, indicating a possible age of between 14 and 18.

The boy's age and identity are unknown, but Neal told ABC that “logic would suggest that . . [offender] There's someone at school.”

Speaking to the ABC on Wednesday, the mother of a 16-year-old female Bacchus Marsh Grammar student, whose photo was not used, said her daughter vomited when she saw the “mutilated” images online. came

“I went and picked my daughter up from a sleepover and she was very upset, and she was throwing up and it was incredibly graphic,” the mother told ABC Radio Melbourne, giving only her first name, Emily. .

The school said in a statement that it is counseling students and assisting police in their investigation.

“The welfare of Bacchus Marsh Grammar's students and their families is of the utmost importance to the school and is being addressed,” the statement said.

Social media companies, including X and Meta, say all non-consensual pornography is banned on their platforms, but explicit AI-generated images continue to spread online.

Last November, New Jersey high school student Francesca Mani, 14, led public calls for a federal crackdown on AI-powered deepfake pornography in the U.S., saying she and her friends at Westfield High School Dozens of her classmates' photos were manipulated.

High-profile victims of explicit doctored photos include Taylor Swift and New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

In March, Ocasio-Cortez introduced federal legislation – the Disrupt Explicit Forged Images and Non-Consensual Edits Act of 2024 (DEFIANCE Act) – to give victims the power to sue those who make non-consensual deepfakes of them. are

However, the bipartisan legislation, which is backed by senior Republicans, failed to pass a unanimous consent motion on Wednesday, according to a statement from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Victoria is the only Australian state where sharing deepfake pornography is a criminal offence.

In 2022, the state government introduced three-year prison terms for using technology to create or share child abuse material, or for presenting sexually explicit material without consent.

This month, the Australian government introduced legislation to criminalize the distribution of deepfake pornography nationwide.

Under the proposed law, offenders could face up to six years in prison for sharing non-consensual sexually explicit deepfake content.

If the offender also creates deepfake content that is shared without permission, he can be jailed for up to seven years.

It is part of the country's response to gender-based violence, which Prime Minister Anthony Albany has described as a “national crisis”.

So far this year, according to the Dead Women Count project, 35 women have been murdered – many of them allegedly by current or former partners.

Just last month, the State Government appointed a Parliamentary Secretary for Men's Behavior Change, an Australian first.

On his appointment, MP Tim Richardson said he would focus on the impact of the internet and social media on men's attitudes towards women.

In a statement on Wednesday, Victoria state Premier Jacinta Allen said the teenager's alleged actions were “disgraceful and abusive.”

“Women and girls deserve respect in the classroom, online and everywhere in our community, which is why we've created laws against this behavior and we're teaching respectful relationships in schools,” Allen said. Violence can be stopped before it starts.”

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