In a Spanish city, teenage girls harassed after an avalanche of deep fakes

In Almendralejo, in the southwest of Spain, the town of 30,000 inhabitants is facing a case of cyberharassment as unprecedented as it is terrifying, as reported the BBC. Close around thirty young girls, aged 11 to 17, saw naked photos of themselves circulating on social networks. These photos were entirely made using artificial intelligence from photos of them fully dressed. An application then generated deep fakes to show them without clothes.

“One day my daughter came out of school and she said, ‘Mom, there are topless photos of me going around,’” María Blanco Rayo, mother of a 14-year-old girl, told the BBC. years. I asked her if she had taken any nude photos of herself, and she said, “No, mom, those are fake photos of girls that are being created a lot these days and there are other girls in my class who it happened to too.” »

Police faced with new crime

According to investigators, around ten boys from the city are involved in this affair, either in the design of the deep fakes or in the dissemination of these images on social networks. A girl was also the victim of an extortion attempt. As the English media specifies, the case, in addition to its media impact, could also have legal consequences: Spanish law says nothing when the generation of images of a sexual nature involves adults, but will have to look into the specifics of the current case.

“Women from different parts of the world wrote to me to explain that this had happened to them and that they did not know what to do,” says Miriam Al Adib, a gynecologist, mother of one of the victim girls and the origin of the media coverage of the affair. Faced with these new criminal forms, the police must try to reinvent themselves. “the new challenges we face are the access of minors at such an early age [à une telle technologie]as in this case,” commented Javier Izquierdo, responsible for child protection in the Cybercrime Unit of the National Police.

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