Stop sharing nude AI photos of your classmates, Catholic school officials say – CBC.ca

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London police are investigating after students at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School started sharing AI-altered nude photos of their peers this week. 

“Those who are sharing the photos through group chats continue to promulgate this ominous use of AI and the harmful consequences it has on our school community members,” administrators at the west-end high school told parents on Tuesday. “The creation and distribution of this material could result in disciplinary measures.”

Officials at the school say student pictures have been copied from social media sites, then altered using artificial intelligence to make the person in the photo appear nude. The photos have been shared through group chats, officials say. 

“As you can imagine, this is a very difficult and challenging situation for our young students and can have lasting adverse effects for them,” administrators wrote to parents. 

London police say they are aware of the matter and are investigating. 

“I’m not really surprised this happened, because AI has come a long way. A lot of this stuff happens on social media,” said Virginia Mathus, 18, a Grade 12 student at the school. “My parents asked if I knew anything about it or if I saw the photos. It’s pretty scary because I share pictures online, and anyone can get it and edit it.” 

Virginia Mathus, 18, is a student at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School. (Kate Dubinski/CBC)

All of the students CBC News spoke to said if the student or students responsible are caught they should be suspended from school. “It’s just not fun. That’s private, and it’s not funny or nice,” Mathus said. 

One student who said was targeted with AI-generated nude photos said she feels humiliated by the actions of her peers, though she doesn’t know who is responsible. “It’s super frustrating because it’s not you, and you want people to believe it’s not you, and even if they know it’s not you, it’s still embarrassing,” the 16-year-old said. 

Teachers speak to students about how not to use artificial intelligence to cheat on tests and assignments, but not about the more creative and insidious ways it can be used, the teen said. “It’s not okay. The one that was made of me was not real and people say, ‘It’s not real, get over it,’ but it’s still embarrassing. I’m humiliated. My parents are humiliated.” 

‘It could ruin someone’s life’

Griffin Gardiner, 15, in Grade 9, said he’s heard female students in Grade 9 and 11 have been targeted.

“I haven’t seen the images but I know people who have. People are saying this shouldn’t be happening,” Gardiner said. “We need to learn more about AI to stop it because it’s just going to get worse. People are doing it for attention. They’re spreading it just to get attention and to embarrass other kids.” 

Griffin Gardiner, 16, said students should be taught more about artificial intelligence. (Kate Dubinski/CBC)

Grade 11 student Aidan North, 16, said teachers have been speaking to students about not posting nudes. “I think it’s just disgusting. I don’t know who in their right minds would want to do this.” 

North knows one of the young women affected, and said she is not doing well. “That can ruin a person’s whole career. She’s in pain right now from what’s going on,” he said. “We don’t get taught enough about AI at all.” 

Aidan North, 16, wishes students were taught more about the consequences of using artificial intelligence. (Kate Dubinski/CBC )

A similar incident in Manitoba last December resulted in no criminal charges, but that province introduced legislation to protect against AI-generated nudes in March as a response. 

That bill would expand the definition of what is considered an intimate image to include those created or manipulated by technology, including artificial intelligence.

School administrators here are asking parents to speak to their kids about the dangers of social media and artificial intelligence, as well as about the inappropriateness of creating and sharing such images in group chats. 

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