POLICE investigators in Extremadura have identified 11 minors who are suspected to be behind the creation and distribution of a number of deep-fake naked pictures of female students that were created using artificial intelligence. In some cases, the images were used in crude attempts to extort the girls in question. 

The scandal has rocked the town of Almendralejo in Badajoz province, after it emerged this week that the highly realistic photos had been circulating since July in some cases. The mothers of the victims have taken the case to the authorities. 

Police sources told Spanish media outlets that three teenage boys have been identified as being the possible creators of the images, while another eight were part of a WhatsApp chat group that distributed them. 

Many of the suspects, however, are aged under 14 meaning that under Spanish law they cannot be prosecuted for their actions. 

The National Police is investigating the case, with as many as 21 victims identified so far. 

Sources from the public prosecutor told Spanish daily El Pais that until the images have been analysed, it is not clear exactly what offences have been committed. 

But the same sources said that there are four possible crimes at play: creation and distribution of pornography, and possessing child pornography; and offences against the moral integrity or privacy of the victims.

According to Spanish media reports, a group of youngsters from different schools in the municipality took photos of the victims from Instagram and WhatsApp, using an AI app to remove their clothing. A video featuring seven of the victims was also created. 

A fake profile on Instagram was also used in an attempt to extort one of the victims, sending her a naked picture of herself when she refused to pay money to the person messaging her.

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