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Friday, June 21, 2024

DOJ Charges Man for Using AI to Generate Child Porn

'This was not the first time that the defendant’s internet account had been flagged during a child-exploitation investigation...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) In one of the first cases of its kind, the Justice Department has filed criminal charges against a Wisconsin man who allegedly used artificial intelligence to create thousands of realistic images of child pornography.

“Technology may change, but our commitment to protecting children will not,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said when announcing the charges on Monday.

According to the DOJ, Steven Anderegg, 42, of Holmen, used a text-to-image generative artificial intelligence, or GenAI, model called Stable Diffusion to create thousands of realistic images of prepubescent minors.

“Many of these images depicted nude or partially clothed minors lasciviously displaying or touching their genitals or engaging in sexual intercourse with men,” the DOJ said in its press release.

“Evidence recovered from Anderegg’s electronic devices revealed that he generated these images using specific, sexually explicit text prompts related to minors, which he then stored on his computer.”

Additionally, Anderegg allegedly communicated with a 15-year-old boy and described how he used Stable Diffusion to convert his text prompts into child porn, the DOJ said Monday. Much of Anderegg’s criminal activity allegedly took place on Instagram, which the Wall Street Journal revealed last year has a widespread pedophile network operating in plain sight.

Anderegg has no convictions on his record.

However, a detention memorandum the DOJ filed Monday states that he was previously investigated for child pornography.

“This was not the first time that the defendant’s internet account had been flagged during a child-exploitation investigation. Roughly four years prior, law enforcement had observed that someone using the internet at his home was requesting to download multiple files of known child sexual abuse material over an online peer-to-peer network,” prosecutors said.

“Law enforcement searched the defendant’s home in furtherance of this investigation in 2020, during which the defendant admitted to using and deleting the specific peer-to-peer program and often resetting his internet modem,” they said.

“No charges have been brought in connection with this prior investigation.”

Anderegg was reportedly arrested by state police in March for two counts of “exposing a child to harmful material” and an additional charge of “sexual contact with a child under age 13.” Forbes reported at the time that he pled not guilty.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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