AI-generated child abuse reports delay investigations


Using AI to detect and report child abuse material on social media platforms can delay investigations

Social media companies like Meta are using AI to detect and report suspicious material, but US law enforcement and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) can only open these reports with a warrant, reports The Guardian.

The only exception would be if the content has been reviewed by someone at the social media company.

Obtaining a search warrant can take days or weeks, resulting in delays in the investigation and possible loss of evidence.



In addition, automatically generated reports often lack the specific information needed to obtain a search warrant.

According to NCMEC, Meta sends by far the largest number of these AI-generated reports. In 2022, more than 27 million, or 84 percent, of all reports were generated through the Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp platforms. In total, the organization received 32 million regular and AI-generated reports from various sources.

AI delays child abuse investigations

The reliance on a search warrant leads to a backlog of AI-generated reports that are not followed up, putting pressure on already overburdened law enforcement teams. As a result, many AI-generated leads go unaddressed, according to The Guardian.

The warrant requirement for AI-generated leads is tied to privacy protections in the United States. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable government searches.

In addition to AI-generated reports, AI-generated images of child abuse can further slow down investigations.


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