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  • Vishal Narayan

AI database caught scraping real images of children without consent

More than 170 images of Brazilian children have been found to have been scraped off the internet to be fed into AI repository LAION-5B, Human Rights Watch said in a report on Monday. 

According to the civil rights group, many of these images, which it said constituted a fraction of over 5 billion overall images in the database, were identifiable through captions. 

The images were scraped through family blogs, stills from YouTube videos with few views, and other social media, the HRW said. 

"Children should not have to live in fear that their photos might be stolen and weaponized against them," said Hye Jung Han, children's rights and technology researcher and advocate at Human Rights Watch. "The government should urgently adopt policies to protect children’s data from AI-fueled misuse."

Human Rights Watch found 170 photos of children from at least 10 states – Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and São Paulo. 

The number, it said, is likely to be significantly less than the total amount of children's personal data that exists in LAION-5B, as it reviewed less than 0.0001 per cent of the 5.85 billion images and captions contained in the data set.

LAION, the German not-for-profit which manages the LAION-5B, said it has taken cognisance of the report and will work to remove the content from the database. 

"It disputed that AI models trained on LAION-5B could reproduce personal data verbatim. LAION also said that children and their guardians were responsible for removing children’s personal photos from the internet, which it argued was the most effective protection against misuse," said Human Rights Watch. 

YouTube does not allow scraping of its content, barring specific circumstances, and the current instances seem to run afoul of its policies. 

"We've been clear that the unauthorized scraping of YouTube content is a violation of our Terms of Service… and we continue to take action against this type of abuse," said YouTube spokesperson Jack Maon, according to Wired.

Image Source: Unsplash



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