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New Jersey teen sues classmate for allegedly creating, sharing fake AI nudes

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A New Jersey teen is suing a classmate for allegedly creating and sharing AI-generated pornographic images of herself and other classmates. 

A male classmate used an "AI application or website" to alter photos of the 15-year-old, who is identified only as Jane Doe because she is a minor, and other female classmates at Westfield High School, according to a federal lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court District of New Jersey. The photos were initially shared on Instagram.

In all of the photos, Jane Doe and the other girls were clothed, but the AI application digitally removed the clothing and created new images that made the girls appear nude. Their faces remained easily identifiable, the lawsuit said. 

"These nude photos of Jane Doe and other minor girls are virtually indistinguishable from real, unaltered photos," the lawsuit said. 

The classmate who allegedly made the images then shared the edited photos with fellow classmates and "possibly others," the lawsuit said, using the Internet and Snapchat to distribute them during the summer of 2023. Snapchat's parent company, Snap, told CBS News that their policies prohibit the sharing of such images, and that their app cannot be used to create them. 

"We have zero tolerance for the sexual exploitation of any member of our community," Snap said in a statement. 

Jane Doe and her family learned about the images in October 2023, when her parents, who were also not identified in the lawsuit, were contacted by her Union County high school. The school's assistant principal said that officials were aware of the images and had confirmed that Jane Doe was a "victim," the suit said. According to the assistant principal, a student had called into the school office to alert officials about seeing nude photos of Jane Doe. 

The defendant's father also reached out to Jane Doe's parents, according to the lawsuit. Jane Doe's parents "immediately cooperated with an investigation launched by the Westfield Police Department," but charges were not pursued because the information gathered by school officials could not be used in the investigation. 

In addition the "defendant and other potential witnesses failed to cooperate with, speak to, or provide access to their electronic devices to law enforcement." Law enforcement was not able to determine how widely the photos had been shared, or ensure that the photos were deleted and not shared further, the lawsuit said. 

"Victims of child and nonconsensual pornography in which their actual faces appear, including Jane Doe, are not only harmed and violated by the creation of such images, but they are also haunted for the rest of their lives by knowing that they were and likely will continue to be exploited for the sexual gratification of others and that, absent court intervention, there is an everlasting threat that such images will be circulated in the future," the lawsuit said.

Jane Doe "suffered and will continue to suffer substantial" reputational and psychological harm because of the photos, the lawsuit said, and she has dealt with "substantial emotional distress, mental anguish, anxiety, embarrassment, shame, humiliation" and "injuries and harms for which there is no adequate remedy at law" since learning about the photos. 

The lawsuit requested that Jane Doe receive damages of $150,000 for each disclosure of a nude image, compensatory and punitive damages to be determined at trial, and a temporary restraining order or an injunction preventing the defendant from sharing the images or disclosing the identity of Jane Doe and her family. The defendant would be required to transfer all of the images to Jane Doe, and then permanently delete and destroy any copies of the images.

Shane Vogt, a lawyer representing Jane Doe, told CBS News that he hopes the case "is successful and will demonstrate that there is something victims can do to protect themselves from the AI pornography epidemic." 

Several states have passed laws to try to combat the spread of AI-generated pornographic images and criminalize the images – as its usage has soared.  In New Jersey, a bill is in the works to ban deepfake pornography and impose a fine, jail time or both on those who share the altered images. President Joe Biden shared an executive order in October, that called for banning the use of generative AI to produce child sexual abuse material or non-consensual pornography. 

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