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TECHNOLOGY Real drawbacks with faked images

Legal experts say faked sexual images of real people are so new that federal law dealing with the problem is lagging.

The experience of a New Jersey high school should, however, motivate Congress and/or state legislatures to implement strong measures and penalties to battle this potentially destructive, horrific and unconscionable enemy of innocence and decency.

An intentionally inflicted, unrelenting nemesis such as the one in question can push a young, immature, fearful and confused mind to want to resort to suicide to escape his or her personal torment and nightmare, in much the same way bullying has claimed too many young lives.

An article in the Wall Street Journal told the shocking story of how some students at a high school in New Jersey used artificial intelligence to create fake nude photos of other students — all female.

“When girls at Westfield High School in New Jersey found out boys were sharing nude photos of them in group chats, they were shocked, and not only because it was an invasion of privacy. The images weren’t real,” the Journal article began.

According to some parents, their daughters have felt humiliated and powerless, and worry about damage to the girls should the images surface later. Again, these are fake images.

In its report, the Journal explained how the secrecy over what was happening unraveled. Sophomore boys at Westfield High were acting “weird” on Monday, Oct. 16, whispering among themselves and being quieter than normal, said one parent.

The Journal said several girls were told by school administrators that some boys had identified them in the fake images.

One girl who was told that her photo was used recounted how some girls had said they were uncomfortable having to attend school with someone they believed had created and shared the images.

“We’re aware there are creepy guys out there,” she said, “but you’d never think one of your classmates would violate you like this.”

Jon Bramnick, a New Jersey state senator who represents Westfield, is co-sponsoring a measure to criminalize the dissemination of such material.

For years, people have had the capability to doctor images. But new AI technology is making it easy to produce entirely fabricated photos.

What a dangerous time we’re entering. Talk to your children and grandchildren about these issues, and how doing something such as this has the potential to ruin someone’s life.

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