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Brain scans ‘could be used to snoop on thoughts’

Rebecca Smith
London Telegraph [1]
Monday, June 7th, 2010

The use of brain scanners must be regulated in order to prevent them being used to invade privacy and threaten civil liberties, a legal expert has warned.

Researchers have concerns that brain scans – already used in some death row trials in the US – could be used by British police to determine whether a suspect is lying, or has planned a crime they have yet to commit.

Dr Burkhard Schafer, of the University of Edinburgh, will say that if left unregulated, scanners could threaten people’s privacy. They could, for instance, be used by employers to test the honesty of an individual’s CV or by commercial companies to analyse the subconscious preferences of their consumers.

Experts from around the world will gather at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Glasgow today (Monday) to debate the issue. Delegates, including neuroscientists, policymakers and judges, will discuss whether cutting-edge brain imaging could be exploited to read people’s thoughts and preferences.

Full article here [1]