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September 13, 2023

Sex offenders using open-source AI to create child abuse content, says watchdog

  • The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has reported that online forums used by sex offenders were discussing using open-source AI models to create new illegal material.
  • This warning has followed the chair of the government’s AI taskforce, Ian Hogarth raising concerns about CSAM on Tuesday.
  • Open-source AI technology can be downloaded and adjusted by users to suit their needs.
  • Chief technology officer at the IWF, Dan Sexton told the Guardian that these discussion forums on the dark web were discussing which open-source models to use and how to achieve the most realistic images.
  • Mr Sexton has commented that “Child sexual abuse online is already, as we believe, a public health epidemic. So this is not going to make the problem any better. It’s only going to potentially make it worse.”
  • For more, please visit the Guardian’s website.

Girls’ happiness hits 15-year low, annual Girlguiding survey suggests

  • According to Girlguiding’s annual survey, concerns about appearance, online harms and sexual harassment all concern young people. 
  • Less than a fifth of respondents described themselves as very happy. 
  • 89% reported feeling generally worried or anxious. 
  • Researchers have noted that the sharpest decline in happiness was among the youngest girls, aged between seven and 10 years old., decreasing from 57% in 2009 to just 28%. 
  • In terms of appearance, 67% of girls aged between 11 and 21 said they sometimes felt ashamed of the way they look because there are not like girls and women they see in the media and online.  
  • Online harms have affected even the youngest girls, with 44% of those aged between seven and 10 saying strangers have messaged them or sent friend requests when playing games online, 
  • For more, please visit the Yahoo News website.  

The following stories may be regionalised:

MPs launch inquiry into children’s mobile phone use amid fears of grooming via social media

  • The Education committee, made up of MPs will quiz experts on the impact of apps, mobile phones and tables on children’s education and wellbeing. 
  • It comes amid fears young people are being recruited into county lines gangs via social media as a tool for grooming children. 
  • It also comes after research by the Children’s Commissioner found that the average age at which children first see pornography is 13. 
  • The inquiry will scrutinise how schools are dealing with internet access and what guidance is being sent to families. 
  • MPs will also examine how effectively schools are teaching about online harms and policies they are using in relation to mobile phone usage. 
  • For more, please visit the Evening Standard website. 

Chester school in ‘lockdown’ after ‘unpleasant’ email sent to schools in North West

  • Police were seen outside one school after schools in the Manchester and Cheshire reported being sent a threatening email. 
  • Lache Primary School in Chester was placed into lockdown, and parents were asked to stay away from the school. 
  • Children were not allowed out, and parents were not allowed in. 
  • Cheshire Police have launched an investigation.  
  • Detective Chief Inspector Justin Hancock said the email is believed to be malicious and they are doing everything to locate the person responsible.  
  • Lache Primary School stated they would release the children, but this needed to be in a staggered and controlled way for everyone’s safety. 
  • For more, please visit the ITV News website. 

Boys as young as 13 increasingly victims of ‘sextortion’ online

  • Police Scotland have reported that boys as young as 13, are increasingly becoming victims of sexual extortion. 
  • The crimes involve manipulation or coercion into sending explicit photos or videos to others online. 
  • In Renfrewshire and Inverclyde Division, 32 out of 36 crimes analysed related to sexual extortion.  
  • Instagram was the social media platform that was most used to make initial contact, followed by Snapchat.  
  • The Lothians and Scottish Borders Division review found most of their threats and extortion crimes were related to sextortion, motivated by financial gain. 
  • Police Scotland reported that most offenders are likely to be outside the UK, making it more difficult to detect. 
  • They reported that most of the crimes do not tend to lead to financial harm. 
  • However, they stated that “other forms of significant harm can occur from the unwanted sharing/threat of unwanted sharing of personal images.” 
  • For more, please visit the STV News website.