New human rights laws to prepare for advances in neurotechnology that put the ‘freedom of the mind’ at risk have been proposed today in the open access journal Life Sciences, Society and Policy.
The authors of the study suggest four new human rights laws could emerge in the near future to protect against exploitation and loss of privacy. The four laws are: the right to cognitive liberty, the right to mental privacy, the right to mental integrity and the right to psychological continuity.
Marcello Ienca, lead author and PhD student at the Institute for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Basel, said: “The mind is considered to be the last refuge of personal freedom and self-determination, but advances in neural engineering, brain imaging and neurotechnology put the freedom of the mind at risk. Our proposed laws would give people the right to refuse coercive and invasive neurotechnology, protect the privacy of data collected by neurotechnology, and protect the physical and psychological aspects of the mind from damage by the misuse of neurotechnology.”
Advances in neurotechnology, such as sophisticated brain imaging and the development of brain-computer interfaces, have led to these technologies moving away from a clinical setting and into the consumer domain. While these advances may be beneficial for individuals and society, there is a risk that the technology could be misused and create unprecedented threats to personal freedom.
Professor Roberto Andorno, co-author of the research, explained: “Brain imaging technology has already reached a point where there is discussion over its legitimacy in criminal court, for example as a tool for assessing criminal responsibility or even the risk of reoffending. Consumer companies are using brain imaging for ‘neuromarketing’, to understand consumer behaviour and elicit desired responses from customers. There are also tools such as ‘brain decoders’ which can turn brain imaging data into images, text or sound. All of these could pose a threat to personal freedom which we sought to address with the development of four new human rights laws.”
The authors explain that as neurotechnology improves and becomes commonplace, there is a risk that the technology could be hacked, allowing a third-party to ‘eavesdrop’ on someone’s mind. In the future, a brain-computer interface used to control consumer technology could put the user at risk of physical and psychological damage caused by a third-party attack on the technology. There are also ethical and legal concerns over the protection of data generated by these devices that need to be considered.
International human rights laws make no specific mention to neuroscience, although advances in biomedicine have become intertwined with laws, such as those concerning human genetic data. Similar to the historical trajectory of the genetic revolution, the authors state that the on-going neurorevolution will force a reconceptualization of human rights laws and even the creation of new ones.
Marcello Ienca added: “Science-fiction can teach us a lot about the potential threat of technology. Neurotechnology featured in famous stories has in some cases already become a reality, while others are inching ever closer, or exist as military and commercial prototypes. We need to be prepared to deal with the impact these technologies will have on our personal freedom.”
The Latest on: Human rights laws and neurotechnology
- Former national taxpayer advocate talks about your rightson February 2, 2020 at 6:05 am
Nina Olson is the former National Taxpayer Advocate, where she represented the voice of the taxpayer within the IRS and before Congress for 18 years. As part of her job, she oversaw the Office of the ...
- CAA violates Constitution, human rights law: Amnestyon February 1, 2020 at 5:01 pm
Rights body tells US lawmakers law ‘legitimises discrimination’ on the basis of religion #Washington Amnesty International has told US lawmakers that the recently enacted Citizenship Amendment Act ...
- Magnitsky law spawns cottage industry of sanctions lobbyingon January 30, 2020 at 3:35 pm
Unlike similar laws blocking sanctioned parties’ US assets and banning travel to the United States, Magnitsky requires that US officials consider information from credible human rights organizations ...
- China rebukes United States over Tibet human rights billon January 29, 2020 at 11:57 pm
RELATED Warren proposes criminal penalties for election disinformation The House passed the bill, which will be sent to the Senate for vote before it can become law, amid mounting U.S. pressure on ...
- Cops Spying on Londoners’ Faces Sparks Human Rights Concernson January 24, 2020 at 5:07 pm
Londoners on their morning commute or evening stroll will be scanned as police deploy live facial-recognition cameras around the city, an effort that human-rights groups say is a “dangerous and ...
via Google News and Bing News