New HampshireDepartment of JusticeOffice of the Attorney General

News Release

For Immediate Release
September 5, 2023

Michael S. Garrity, Director of Communications | (603) 931-9375

Attorney General Formella Urges Congress to Study AI and its Harmful Effects on Children 

Concord, NH – Attorney General John M. Formella announces that he, as part of a bipartisan 54-state and territory coalition, is urging Congress to study how artificial intelligence (AI) can and is being used to exploit children through child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and to propose legislation to protect children from those abuses.

"The threat here is real. We are already seeing these emerging AI technologies being co-opted by abusers. Congress must take action now to tackle all forms of online child sexual abuse in order to better safeguard our children,” said Attorney General Formella. “Tech companies know their products are being used to facilitate child sexual abuse and they must be required to do much more to root it out and guard against it.”

The dangers of AI as it relates to CSAM fall into three main categories: a real child’s likeness who has not been physically abused being digitally altered in a depiction of abuse, a real child who has been physically abused being digitally recreated in other depictions of abuse, and a child who does not even exist being digitally created in a depiction of abuse that feeds the market for CSAM.

The letter states, “AI is also being used to generate child sexual abuse material (CSAM).  For example, AI tools can rapidly and easily create 'deepfakes' by studying real photographs of abused children to generate new images showing those children in sexual positions. This involves overlaying the face of one person on the body of another. Deepfakes can also be generated by overlaying photographs of otherwise unvictimized children on the internet with photographs of abused children to create new CSAM involving the previously unharmed children.”

Attorney General Formella is asking Congress to form a commission to study specifically how AI can be used to exploit children and to “act to deter and address child exploitation, such as by expanding existing restrictions on CSAM to explicitly cover AI-generated CSAM.”

The letter continues, “We are engaged in a race against time to protect the children of our country from the dangers of AI. Indeed, the proverbial walls of the city have already been breached. Now is the time to act.” 

For the full contents of the letter, click here.

New Hampshire Department of Justice
33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658