Brain scans being misused as lie detectors, experts say
2010-06-07 0:00

By Caroline Parkinson | BBCNews.com

Measures are needed to stop brain scans being misused by courts, insurers and employers, experts have warned.

Some research suggests the technique can show whether a person is lying if certain areas of the brain "light-up".

At least one US company is offering scans to employers recruiting staff but American courts have already rejected attempts to use them in legal cases.

The University of Edinburgh’s Burkhard Schafer said there were issues over privacy and reliability of technology.

The subject is being discussed by experts from around the world at a conference at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Glasgow.

’The next frontier’
Attempts have been made to use magnetic resonance imaging scans as lie detectors or to demonstrate mental health problems in more than 90 capital punishment cases in the US, as well as in other proceedings in Europe and Asia.

"As soon as public awareness increases there will be interest from everyone from daytime entertainment programmes to employers and the legal system"
~Burkhard Schafer, University of Edinburgh

While they have been rejected in many cases, scan results have sometimes been accepted as evidence.

Mr Schafer, co-director of the SCRIPT Centre for Research in Intellectual Property and Technology at the University of Edinburgh’s school of law, said the UK had to consider how to prevent MRI scans being misused - and how to protect people’s privacy.

"After data mining and online profiling, brain imaging could well become the next frontier in the privacy wars.

"The promise to read a person’s mind is beguiling, and some applications will be greatly beneficial.

"But a combination of exaggerated claims by commercial providers, inadequate legal regulation and the persuasive power of images bring very real dangers for us as citizens."

He added: "As soon as public awareness increases there will be interest from everyone from daytime entertainment programmes to employers and the legal system.

"It would be sensible to be prepared."

’Powerful and compelling’
Mr Schafer added there was also a chance employers could seek to use scans to test the honesty of an individual’s CV - or by insurance companies.

"There should probably be a moratorium for insurance companies, as has happened over the use of genetic test information."
But he warned MRI scans should not be used in this way: "The science isn’t there."

Joanna Wardlaw, professor of applied neuroimaging at the University of Edinburgh, said brain scans could show differences between groups who thought differently in a research setting.

But she added: "It’s very, very difficult to apply the results of an individual’s scan in situations such as where there is a threat of legal action.

"Images are powerful and compelling, and people are likely to accept them. But there needs to be much more understanding of what the limitations are."

Professor Geraint Rees, director of the University College London’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, said: "I’m concerned about the potential use of scans that are starting to emerge now, but whether we need to go down the road of legal regulation, I’m not so sure about.

"But we do need to have an informed debate."

Article from: news.bbc.co.uk
Image: Source



Related Articles
Future Arrives Early: Judge Uses Brain Scan to Convict Person of Murder (2008)
Thought Police: How Brain Scans Could Invade Your Private Life
Police say taking blood samples will help curb drunk driving
’Big Brother’ DNA database plan will place innocent people under suspicion for 12 years
DNA database ’breach of rights’
Interpol Details Plans For Global Biometric Facial Scan Database


Latest News from our Front Page

Facebook’s New ‘Chinese-style’ Political Censorship System Goes Global
2015-01-29 4:35
Last week 21WIRE reported on Facebook’s new communitarian policy whereby readers can ‘flag’ content as “fake news” if they believe it’s not real, or if they do not like it. In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo False Flag event, the social media giant is now allowing governments to determine what is ‘good free speech’, and what is not. “An article ...
"Cheerful" Dutch Financier Becomes 4th ABN Amro Banker Suicide
2015-01-28 23:47
Following the deaths of 36 bankers last year, 2015 has got off to an inauspicious start with the reported suicide of Chris Van Eeghen - the 4th ABN Amro banker suicide in the last few years. As Quotenet reports, the death of Van Eghen - the head of ABN's corporate finance and capital markets -"startled" friends and colleagues as ...
West’s tributes to late Saudi King reveal hypocrisy not democracy
2015-01-27 2:16
Hypocrisy is not usually regarded as a virtue of leadership, yet judging by the gushing tributes paid to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah by various Western governments and establishment figures on his death, there are those who believe it should be. In the UK this hypocrisy has been stretched to breaking point with the decision to fly the flags over Downing ...
Millions of GMO insects could be set loose in Florida Keys
2015-01-27 2:34
Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys if British researchers win approval to use the bugs against two extremely painful viral diseases. Never before have insects with modified DNA come so close to being set loose in a residential U.S. neighborhood. "This is essentially using a mosquito as a drug to cure disease," said Michael Doyle, executive ...
Furguson Scared The Super - Rich So Bad They're Planning Exits
2015-01-27 0:22
According to a speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Ferguson and Occupy absolutely terrified the world’s super-rich, and now they’re buying airstrips and farms in remote locations to escape to. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which was held between January 21-24, over 2,500 leaders in the fields of business, international politics, academia and journalism met to discuss ...
More News »