AI Deepfake Generated Photos of Female Students and Teachers in Schools

Canadian media recently reported that the distribution of AI-generated fake nude images is a new challenge facing students and teachers in schools. Last week, it was reported that female students had been subjected to the online distribution of sexually explicit AI-doctored images of themselves – in other words - deepfake sexually explicit photos - without their knowledge through “nudification” apps.

In December 2023, a Winnipeg school division discovered that altered pictures of female students had been distributed after students reported to administration that the images had been shared online. According to the media, their original photos appeared to have been gathered from publicly accessible social media, then sexualized through AI manipulation.

Schools have also reportedly dealt with students who made and distributed online deepfake videos of teachers and school administrators; in one case a deepfake was apparently made and distributed of a school principal shouting a string of racist slurs before threatening a mass shooting.

Sadly, schools and division staff are already familiar with student distribution of revenge pornography (i.e., the non-consensual distribution of intimate images) and their impact in schools.

In April 2023, Quebec Judge Benoit Gagnon, dealt with the first deepfake technology case under the Criminal Code in R. v Larouche 2023 QCCQ 1853. There, a 61 year old was sentenced to 42 months in prison for having made several graphic child pornography video files using deepfake technology. The Court commented:

This type of software makes it possible to commit crimes that could involve practically every child in our communities. A simple video excerpt of a child on social media or a surreptitious screenshot of children in a public place could transform them into potential child pornography victims.

While the issue of deepfake pictures/videos and their impact in schools is new, the Winnipeg school case highlights the need for school authorities to ensure their administrative procedures are up to date, that their educational programming as to responsible student internet use, including safe and healthy online conduct, is up to date, is reasonably and properly addressed, and reaches all students under their care.