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Bill to Protect Children from AI Enabled Sexual Exploitation Passes Assembly

For immediate release:
Kaylin Hayman speaking as the lead witness for AB 1831 at the Assembly Public Safety Committee hearing on 4/9/24

SACRAMENTO – Today the Assembly passed AB 1831, authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park), to criminalize the creation, distribution, and possession of artificial intelligence-generated Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). AB 1831 will address the emerging dangers posed by artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that can create disturbing and harmful content resembling actual children.

“The sexual exploitation of children must be illegal, full stop. Today’s resounding bipartisan support for AB 1831 brings us one step closer to cracking down on AI generated pictures and videos of children being sexually abused. A gap in current law allows real children’s photos to be scraped from the internet, including from social media profiles and school websites, and turned into AI generated sexually explicit content that can be virtually indistinguishable from real children,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman. “The powerful advocacy of survivors of AI-generated sexual exploitation give voice to the profound harm this abhorrent abuse of technology causes, and underscores the urgent need to pass AB 1831 to protect children across our state.”

“This legislation is critical to protecting children from being exploited by rapidly advancing AI. I applaud the California State Assembly for advancing this important bill, and for Assemblymember Berman for his leadership on this issue. SAG-AFTRA urges the swift passage of AB 1831, and we call on the State Senate and Governor Newsom to enact this law as soon as possible,” said SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles Local President Jodi Long.

 “I am very happy to be working with these inspiring people as well as making history. It is my honor to be shining light on this terrible reality for other victims. I’m blessed to be in this position and forever grateful for this team! I look forward to continuing the journey of making this bill a law,” said Kaylin Hayman, a survivor and victim advocate, and former Disney child actor.

“Right now, there is a gap in California Law,” said Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko. “Changes need to be made to keep up with the quickly changing technology. This is a serious, prurient, and very disturbing problem that the law needs to address.”

“Confronting an unprecedented epidemic of social media-facilitated teen suicides, we urgently need to ensure that our criminal statutes against abusing or endangering children clearly reach the sickening and public sexualization of their appearances,” said Ed Howard, Senior Counsel, Children’s Advocacy Institute, University of San Diego School of Law.

"Common Sense Media applauds Assemblymember Berman's efforts to safeguard children online with the introduction of this bill, AB 1831, which builds on the success of AB 1394, a bill that was signed into law last year to help stamp out the deeply harmful problem of online child sex trafficking. This new bill employs a similarly proactive approach, this time protecting kids and teens against online exploitation that is exacerbated by the rise of AI. California should take the lead when it comes to protecting kids and families from the negative impacts of this powerful new technology,” said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO, Common Sense Media.

AB 1831 is co-sponsored by Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko, the California District Attorneys Association, Common Sense Media, SAG-AFTRA, and University of San Diego School of Law Children’s Advocacy Institute. The bill now goes to the State Senate Committee on Public Safety.

Assemblymember Marc Berman represents the 23rd Assembly District, which includes southern San Mateo County and northern Santa Clara County in the heart of the Silicon Valley. Website of Assemblymember Marc Berman: Assemblymember Marc Berman’s official headshot is available here.