‘Neurorights’ and the next flashpoint of medical privacy

Article by Alex LaCasse: “Around the world, leading neuroscientists, neuroethicists, privacy advocates and legal minds are taking greater interest in brain data and its potential.

Opinions vary widely on the long-term advancements in technology designed to measure brain activity and their impacts on society, as new products trickle out of clinical settings and gain traction for commercial applications.

Some say alarm bells should already be sounding and argue the technology could have corrosive effects on democratic society. Others counter such claims are hyperbolic, given the uncertainty that technology can even measure certain brain activities in the purported way.

Today, neurotechnology is primarily confined to medical and research settings, with the use of various clinical-grade devices to monitor the brain activity of patients who may suffer from mental illnesses or paralysis to gauge muscle movement and record electroencephalography (the measurement of electrical activity and motor function in the brain)….

“I intentionally don’t call this neurorights or brain rights. I call it cognitive liberty,” Duke University Law and Philosophy Professor Nita Farahany said during a LinkedIn Live session. “There is promise of this technology, not only for people who are struggling with a loss of speech and loss of motor activity, but for everyday people.”

The jumping-off point of the panel centered around Farahany’s new book, “The Battle for Your Brain: The Ability to Think Freely in the Age of Neurotechnology,” which examines the neurotechnology landscape and potential negative outcomes without regulatory oversight.

Farahany was motivated to write the book because she saw a “chasm” between what she thought neurotechnology was capable of and the reality of some companies working to one day decode people’s inner thoughts on some level…(More)” (Book)”.