Officials: Students at Westfield HS used AI to create fake nude images of female classmates
Pornographic pictures of Union County High School female students created by artificial intelligence have parents in an uproar - and police investigating.
Westfield High School sophomore Francesca Mani is just one of seven positively identified female victims. She tells News 12 that there are possibly over 30 female students whose faces were used to create pornographic AI images that were circulated among a group of boys from their school this summer.
Mani recounts what happened on Oct. 20, the day the news broke at Westfield High School that one of her male classmates created pornographic pictures using the faces of some of the female students and circulated them to other students.
"So many boys were whispering about something but none of the girls knew. One of the boys accidentally told one of the girls and that’s when the next day, that’s when it all spread out...I just started crying because I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t think this could happen to me. I didn’t think it could be one of my classmates,” she says. “I thought like it would just be creeps online, but it was one of my classmates.”
Mani says several of her male classmates positively identified her and several of her classmates and that’s when they took it to the principal.
According to Mani and her mom Dorota, the student involved was suspended but has since returned to school. Westfield High School offered counseling to its affected students and school officials say they’re investigating the situation.
MORE: Biden wants to move fast on AI safeguards and signs an executive order to address his concerns
The Manis have also filed a report with the Westfield Police Department. New Jersey’s Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying reporting program doesn’t address the use of nonconsensual pornographic AI images.
"At this point, we are facing an AI global pandemic and it’s our responsibility to speak up, let's not wait for a tragedy to happen but rather let's be proactive,” Dorota says.
Mani says she hopes to implement change. "I wanted to make an impact on the world and let them be aware of what AI could do and it couldn’t just be creeps out there. It could be your classmates,” she says.
Mental Health Counselor Alessandra Kellerman is working with the family to launch a site for other teens who’ve been victimized like Mani and her classmates.
"Not everybody is ready to go public or ever, but at least would know the resources out there like 988,” says Kellerman.
President Joe Biden signed an executive order earlier this week that regulates the development of AI and safeguards against producing nonconsensual intimate imagery of real people. New Jersey politicians have introduced legislation that criminalizes sharing nonconsensual pornographic AI images.
News 12’s Walt Kane spoke with state Sen. Jon Bramnick about this issue.