Mike Hilgers

Nebraska Attorney General

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

LINCOLN--Attorney General Hilgers joined a bipartisan coalition of 54 Attorneys General in a letter 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. 

“AI technology is growing rapidly in use and sophistication, presenting increased dangers and potential for abuse of children. We are engaged in a race against time to protect children, and we urge Congress to act and to act quickly,” stated Attorney General Mike Hilgers.

The dangers of AI as it relates to CSAM are in 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 warns that AI is already being used to generate CSAM. The letter explains, “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. . . . 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 Hilgers and the rest of the coalition ask 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 [federal] 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." 

Besides Nebraska, the South Carolina led letter is co-sponsored in a bipartisan effort by Mississippi, North Carolina, and Oregon. They are also joined by Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.