September 03, 2012
The Future Does Not Include Brain Privacy

I hear Mick Jagger singing "these days its all secrecy, no privacy". Do not take for granted the privacy of your own thoughts.

A team of security researchers from Oxford, UC Berkeley, and the University of Geneva say that they were able to deduce digits of PIN numbers, birth months, areas of residence and other personal information by presenting 30 headset-wearing subjects with images of ATM machines, debit cards, maps, people, and random numbers in a series of experiments.

Imagine how an interrogation system could be constructed to show assorted pieces of information along with questions in order to measure how the brain reacts.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2012 September 03 09:16 PM  Brain Surveillance

PacRim Jim said at September 3, 2012 11:42 PM:

Sounds like a business opportunity for tinfoil hats that function as personal Faraday cages, or stealth caps that return spurious data.

Faruq said at September 4, 2012 3:50 AM:

[FuturePundit deleted a piece of this comment]

but don't worry, good old Randall Parker, internet warrior,extraoirdinaire will save the day with one of his legendary posts....

Lono said at September 4, 2012 9:35 AM:

This will be useful for holding government representatives accountable in the future. If they aren't doing anything wrong they shouldn't have anything to hide!

Might be a boon for UFOlogy research too!


Lono said at September 4, 2012 9:36 AM:

Faruq - are you off your meds again?

Joseph Hertzlinger said at September 4, 2012 9:37 AM:

Why does this type of research always involve pathetically-small sample sizes?

Randall Parker said at September 4, 2012 8:09 PM:


For Faruq's post above I'm cutting out just a piece of it rather than the whole thing just so we can have an exchange with him. He needs to get over his anger.


Really, you do seem in much worse mental shape in recent weeks. I've had to delete a few of your more threatening posts. I'll delete more if necessary. Why so upset? I mean, it isn't like my words or your words carry much weight in the larger world. Threatening me. Threatening other people. Why get so bent out of shape?

faffy said at September 4, 2012 8:12 PM:

Hopefully by the time this technology becomes widespread we would have enough foresight to make unwanted intrusion into private thoughts an illegal act.

Wolf-Dog said at September 4, 2012 8:48 PM:

Once the governments of authoritarian countries get this technology in its perfected form, then such interrogations will be commonplace, and those who don't sincerely agree with the system will be punished and eliminated. Perfection at its best.

Robert Heinlein's science fiction story "If This Goes On" (part of "Revolt in 2011") is worth mentioning.

In this novel, the United States is ruled by an authoritarian religious government, and there is a Grand Inquisitor that uses a combination of mind reading machines and psychological torture to interrogate suspected Resistance members.

But in the end, the Resistance fools the mind-reading machine by hypnotizing some of its members before they are captured and interrogated, and finally they manage to overthrow the oppressive religious oligarchy.

But this kind of oppressive interrogation will be used in any authoritarian country, including the religious dictatorships.

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