EU Moves to Criminalize AI-Generated Child Sexual Abuse and Deepfakes


  • EU proposes legislation to criminalize AI-generated imagery depicting child sexual abuse and deepfakes.
  • The Commission also suggests creating a new offense for livestreaming child sexual abuse and criminalizing the possession and exchange of “pedophile manuals.”
  • These proposals are part of a broader package aimed at enhancing prevention efforts, increasing awareness of online risks, and improving support services for victims.
  • Updates to existing rules include changes in mandatory reporting of offenses and align with previous initiatives to combat online child sexual exploitation.
  • Despite the controversy surrounding previous measures, the EU remains committed to leveraging technology to address evolving challenges in online child safety.

Main AI News:

The European Union is pushing forward with plans to criminalize the creation and distribution of AI-generated imagery depicting child sexual abuse (CSA) and deepfakes. The Commission’s announcement today underscores the need to update existing legislation to effectively address technological advancements.

In addition to proposing the criminalization of AI-generated CSA imagery, the EU is advocating for the establishment of a new offense: livestreaming child sexual abuse. Furthermore, the possession and dissemination of “pedophile manuals” would also become criminal acts under this proposed legislation. These measures are part of a comprehensive package aimed at enhancing CSA prevention efforts, including raising awareness of online risks and improving support services for victims, such as the right to financial compensation.

The proposed updates to the EU’s current legal framework, dating back to 2011, include revisions regarding mandatory reporting of offenses. This move aligns with the Commission’s ongoing efforts to combat CSA, as demonstrated by a separate draft legislation introduced in May 2022. This earlier proposal sought to compel digital platforms to employ automated technologies for detecting and reporting instances of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and grooming activities targeting minors.

While the CSAM-scanning initiative has faced significant controversy and divided lawmakers, the Commission remains steadfast in its commitment to address the issue. Despite criticisms and concerns over privacy implications and regulatory overreach, the EU continues to emphasize the importance of leveraging technology to combat online child exploitation.

The decision to prioritize digital platforms for CSA prevention has drawn scrutiny, with some arguing that it overlooks broader societal issues. Nevertheless, the Commission maintains that today’s proposals complement existing efforts and are essential for tackling the evolving challenges posed by advancements in technology.

The Commission’s proposal acknowledges the growing prevalence of children’s online presence and the corresponding rise in technological capabilities that enable abuse. It underscores the need for robust legal measures to combat online child sexual exploitation effectively.

Ylva Johansson, Commissioner for Home Affairs, emphasized the urgency of addressing these challenges, stating, “Fast-evolving technologies are creating new possibilities for child sexual abuse online, and raises challenges for law enforcement to investigate this extremely serious and widespread crime.”

Moving forward, the EU aims to encourage member states to prioritize awareness-raising initiatives to enhance online safety for children. As discussions unfold within the Parliament and Council, the final shape of these proposals will be determined. Despite potential challenges, today’s initiatives may garner broader support compared to previous controversial measures, offering hope for progress in combating online child exploitation within the EU.


The EU’s move to criminalize AI-generated child sexual abuse imagery signifies a significant step in addressing the growing threat of online exploitation. This legislative action not only aims to deter perpetrators but also demonstrates the EU’s commitment to prioritizing child safety in the digital age. For businesses operating in the technology and digital services sectors, compliance with these regulations will be crucial to avoid legal repercussions and uphold ethical standards in the online space. Additionally, there may be opportunities for innovative solutions and technologies that support the detection and prevention of online child sexual abuse to emerge and gain traction in the market.