Brain scans being misused as lie detectors, experts say
2010 06 07

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

Chess-playing computers may cause the robot apocalypse
2014 04 23
Sore-loser chess programs might be the end of us all... In the movie The Terminator, we heard the human side of the story of Judgment Day, with the machines getting smart and seeing us as a threat. It wasn’t until the sequel that we heard the tale from the machine’s point of view, as it chose to start World War III ...
Archeologists’ findings may prove Rome a century older than thought
2014 04 23
It is already known as the eternal city, and if new archeological findings prove correct Rome may turn out to be even more so than believed until now. Next week, the city will celebrate its official, 2,767th birthday. According to a tradition going back to classic times, the brothers Romulus and Remus founded the city on 21 April in the year ...
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
2014 04 23
A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. "I can’t speak for other MPs, but I’ve had many, many calls over the past eight years about chemtrails. And these questions are not so easy to answer," ...
Mystery of Bizarre Duck-Like Ocean Sound
2014 04 23
If it quacks like a duck... it’s not always a duck. Scientists have reportedly gotten to the bottom of the mysterious ’Bio-Duck’ sound in the Antarctic. Here’s a recording of the strange sound (it’s kind of a stretch to say it sounds like a duck, but who are we to second guess the biologists?). --- Mystery of Bizarre Duck-Like Ocean Sound Solved By Tanya Lewis ...
’Extreme’ Carbon Dioxide Reduction will be a Death Sentence for Humanity & Planet Earth
2014 04 23
If we allow a fraudulent pseudo-environmentalist cult to control every aspect of our lives then our children are doomed to a totalitarian existence which Stalin could only have dreamed of. “The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine ...
More News »