Tuesday, April 8, 2008

NEXT TARGET OF THE PRIVACY INVADERS: YOUR MIND

CORY DOCTOROW, BOING BOING - Wired's Clive Thompson's latest column probes the new bioethical conundra of "cognitive liberty" -- the freedom not to have our brains scanned. I first encountered the phrase in relation to mind-altering drugs, where it's also a good fit -- what freedom could be more fundamental than the freedom to choose your state of mind?

We think of our brains as the ultimate private sanctuary, a zone where other people can't intrude without our knowledge or permission. But its boundaries are gradually eroding. Hypersonic sound is just a portent of what's coming, one of a host of emerging technologies aimed at tapping into our heads. These tools raise a fascinating, and queasy, new ethical question: Do we have a right to "mental privacy"?

"We're going to be facing this question more and more, and nobody is really ready for it," says Paul Root Wolpe, a bioethicist and board member of the nonprofit Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics. "If the skull is not an absolute domain of privacy, there are no privacy domains left." He argues that the big personal liberty issues of the 21st century will all be in our heads - the "civil rights of the mind," he calls it.

It's true that most of this technology is still gestational. But the early experiments are compelling: Some researchers say that fMRI brain scans can detect surprisingly specific mental acts - like whether you're entertaining racist thoughts, doing arithmetic, reading, or recognizing something. Entrepreneurs are already pushing dubious forms of the tech into the marketplace: You can now hire a firm, No Lie MRI, to conduct a "truth verification" scan if you're trying to prove you're on the level. Give it 10 years, ethicists say, and brain tools will be used regularly - sometimes responsibly, often shoddily.

6 Comments:

At April 8, 2008 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At April 9, 2008 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So while we worry about this form of survellance, has anyone else recieved the "American Community Survey" from the Census Bureau?

This loss of privacy is happening today. The Census Bureau is sending out 3 million 26 page questionaires each year with highly sesitive questions like what time to you leave for work and return home after work, your emplyers name and contact info, how much money do you make, can you climb the stairs easily, how many toilets do you have in your home, do you own your home, and dozens of other intrusive questions. They also threaten recipiants of the survey with $5000 in fines if they refuse to complete and return the form.

If one doesn't return the form, the phone calls start, trying to harass the info out over the phone. If one still refuses, they send people to ones house to try to intimidate the resident into giving them 26 pages of private personal infomation.

The ACS and Census Bureau say they are using the info to dole out pork for schools and hospitals, but they also sell the info to businesses like Wal-Mart. So they use our taxpayer money to spy on us then make money by selling our private info to corporations.

What they are asking for is exactly the info that the US Justice Department recomends people carefully protect to avoid identity theft.

This is really quite a breach of privacy, I'm rather surprised that TPR has not had any info about it.

 
At April 9, 2008 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

https://www.checkpointusa.org
/Census/Census.htm

 
At April 9, 2008 3:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm starting a company to manufacture tinfoil hats. I expect to be able to go public with an IPO that will net me billions within 18 months.

 
At April 9, 2008 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the census man shows up, I refuse to answer any questions, and state simply: "There are [fill in the number] natural-born U.S. citizens living here. That's all the information the Constitution requires I give you." He hasn't been back.

 
At April 10, 2008 7:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

During the 2000 census a percentage of citizens were presented with a similar multi-page questionnaire. We received one. Many of the questions were inappropriate, invasive, and down right insulting---including topics such as the number of abortion procedures an individual in the household may have experienced.

We refused to participate. The only information we were willing to provide was the number of individuals residing in the home and how many of those individuals were eligible voters, thus fulfilling our only constitutional obligation to the Census Bureau ---the census was mandated to apportion representation in the House of Representatives.
Our census takers were not happy. We had several visits, each developing into rather heated discussions.
Each time I waved my copy of the Constitution in their face. We were threatened with implied legal action. I continued to wave my Constitution. Eventually they left us alone.

 

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