Tasmanian jailed for possessing AI-generated child abuse material

The conviction is the believed to be the first in Tasmania’s history relating to child exploitation material generated by AI.

The Gravelly Beach man, 48, was sentenced in the Launceston Supreme Court on Tuesday 26 March, 2024, after pleading guilty to possessing and accessing child abuse material.

Police identified the offender and executed a search warrant on 1 May, 2023, at his Gravelly Beach residence, where they seized a number of electronic devices, including the man’s computer.

An examination of the computer revealed hundreds of files containing CAM which included a significant amount generated by AI.

The man was subsequently arrested and charged.

On 10 October, 2023, the man plead guilty to the following offences:

  • Possess child abuse material obtained using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • Using a carriage service to access child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)

He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 10 months.

AFP Detective Sergeant Aaron Hardcastle said the investigation had been significant as it marked the first time police had located and seized AI-generated child abuse material in Tasmania.

“Child abuse material, is still child abuse material, no matter what form it takes,” Det. Sgt Hardcastle said.

“People may not be aware that online simulations, fantasy, text-based stories, animations and cartoons, including artificial intelligence-generated content depicting child sexual abuse are all still considered child abuse material under Commonwealth legislation,” he said.

“Whether the image is AI-generated or depicts a real child victim, the material is repulsive and the Tasmania JACET Team, along with the AFP and its law enforcement partners, will continue to identify and locate those sharing this abhorrent content and put them before the courts.”

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) is driving a collaborative national approach to combatting child abuse.

The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into online child sexual exploitation and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.

Members of the public who have information about people involved in child abuse are urged to contact the ACCCE. If you know abuse is happening right now or a child is at risk, call police immediately on 000.

If you or someone you know is impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation, support services are available.

Research conducted by the ACCCE in 2020 revealed only about half of parents talked to their children about online safety. Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect children online can be found at thinkuknow. an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

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