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It is unlikely that criminal charges will be filed in the Beverly Hills AI nudes case.

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If an eighth-grader in California shared a nude photo of a classmate with friends without consent, the student could conceivably be prosecuted under state laws dealing with child pornography and disorderly conduct.

If the photo is an AI-generated deepfake, however, it’s not clear that any state law would apply.

That’s the dilemma facing the Beverly Hills Police Department as it investigates a group of students from Beverly Vista Middle School who allegedly shared photos of classmates that had been doctored with an artificial-intelligence-powered app. According to the district, the images used real faces of students atop AI-generated nude bodies.

Lt. Andrew Myers, a spokesman for the Beverly Hills police, said no arrests have been made and the investigation is continuing.

Security guards stand outside at Beverly Vista Middle School in Beverly Hills.

Security guards stand outside at Beverly Vista Middle School on Feb. 26 in Beverly Hills.

(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Beverly Hills Unified School District Supt. Michael Bregy said the district’s investigation into the episode is in its final stages.

“Disciplinary action was taken immediately and we are pleased it was a contained, isolated incident,” Bregy said in a statement, although no information was disclosed about the nature of the action, the number of students involved or their grade level.

He called on Congress to prioritize the safety of children in the U.S., adding that “technology, including AI and social media, can be used incredibly positively, but much like cars and cigarettes at first, if unregulated, they are utterly destructive.”

Whether the fake nudes amount to a criminal offense, however, is complicated by the technology involved.

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Federal law includes computer-generated images of identifiable people in the prohibition on child pornography. Although the prohibition seems clear, legal experts caution that it has yet to be tested in court.

California’s child pornography law does not mention artificially generated images. Instead, it applies to any image that “depicts a person under 18 years of age personally engaging in or simulating sexual conduct.”

Joseph Abrams, a Santa Ana criminal defense attorney, said an AI-generated nude “doesn’t depict a real person.” It could be defined as child erotica, he said, but not child porn. And from his standpoint as a defense attorney, he said, “I don’t think it crosses a line for this particular statute or any other statute.”

“As we enter this AI age,” Abrams said, “these kinds of questions are going to have to get litigated.”

Kate Ruane, director of the free expression project at the Center for Democracy & Technology, said that early versions of digitally altered child sexual abuse material superimposed the face of a child onto a pornographic image of someone else’s body. Now, however, freely available “undresser” apps and other programs generate fake bodies to go with real faces, raising legal questions that haven’t been squarely addressed yet, she said.

Still, she said, she had trouble seeing why the law wouldn’t cover sexually explicit images just because they were artificially generated. “The harm that we were trying to address [with the prohibition] is the harm to the child that is attendant upon the existence of the image. That is the exact same here,” Ruane said.

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There is another roadblock to criminal charges, though. In both the state and federal cases, the prohibition applies just to “sexually explicit conduct,” which boils down to intercourse, other sex acts and “lascivious” exhibitions of a child’s privates.

The courts use a six-pronged test to determine whether something is a lascivious exhibition, considering such things as what the image focuses on, whether the pose is natural, and whether the image is intended to arouse the viewer. A court would have to weigh those factors when evaluating images that weren’t sexual in nature before being “undressed” by AI.

“It’s really going to depend on what the end photo looks like,” said Sandy Johnson, senior legislative policy counsel of the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, the largest anti-sexual-violence organization in the United States. “It’s not just nude photos.”

The age of the kids involved wouldn’t be a defense against a conviction, Abrams said, because “children have no more rights to possess child pornography than adults do.” But like Johnson, he noted that “nude photos of children aren’t necessarily child pornography.”

Neither the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office nor the state Department of Justice responded immediately to requests for comment.

State lawmakers have proposed several bills to fill the gaps in the law regarding generative AI. These include proposals to extend criminal prohibitions on the possession of child porn and the nonconsensual distribution of intimate images (also known as “revenge porn”) to computer-generated images and to convene a working group of academics to advise lawmakers on “relevant issues and impacts of artificial intelligence and deepfakes.”

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Members of Congress have competing proposals that would expand federal criminal and civil penalties for the nonconsensual distribution of AI-generated intimate imagery.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the district Board of Education, Dr. Jane Tavyev Asher, director of pediatric neurology at Cedars-Sinai, called on the board to consider the consequences of “giving our children access to so much technology” in and out of the classroom.

Beverly Vista Middle School in Beverly Hills.
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NASA is Developing an Electrodynamic Shield to Address Lunar and Martian Dust Challenges


NASA is tirelessly working on addressing the challenges posed by dust on the Moon and Mars. The lunar surface is covered in regolith, a jagged and abrasive material that can cause damage to equipment and pose health risks to astronauts. Additionally, dust accumulation on surfaces like solar panels can lead to decreased power output, creating further complications for manned missions to Mars.

To combat these issues, NASA has developed an innovative solution in the form of an Electrodynamic Dust Shield (EDS). This shield utilizes transparent electrodes and electric fields to electrically remove dust from surfaces, inspired by a concept developed by NASA in 1967. The technology has been in development since 2004 and is currently being tested by researchers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

The EDS has shown promising results in vacuum chamber tests simulating the space environment, with lunar regolith samples used for testing. The material was successfully ejected from surfaces within seconds, demonstrating the shield’s efficacy in removing dust. Additionally, EDS materials have been embedded on glass panels, test spacesuit fabrics, and even camera lenses onboard the International Space Station and lunar landers.

Dr. Charles Buhler, lead scientist on the project, emphasized the importance of protecting equipment and habitats from dust exposure on lunar missions. The abrasive nature of lunar dust, coupled with its ability to compromise seals and hatches, makes it a significant concern for future missions. The EDS technology shows great promise in mitigating these risks and ensuring the safety of astronauts and machinery on dusty worlds.

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As NASA continues to advance the development of the Electrodynamic Dust Shield, future missions will further test its capabilities in real-world environments. The technology holds great potential in safeguarding against the challenges posed by dust and ensuring the success of manned missions to the Moon and Mars.

For more information on NASA’s groundbreaking technology to combat lunar dust, visit the official NASA website at NASA Technology Helps Guard Against Lunar Dust.

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