Friday, August 19, 2016

Monitoring our Brain Signals (part 5/5)

Our TV's, computers, and smart phones are all devices we use regularly that are likely to feature EEG scanning in the future. Howard Chizeck, a researcher at the University of Washington, and his team wrote, “While federal law protects medical information and generally guards against unfair or deceptive practices, few rules or standards currently limit access to BCI-generated data. Existing and emerging privacy and security threats may be viewed as an attack on human rights to privacy and dignity.” (Quoted from a 2014 paper entitled, 'App Stores for the Brain: Privacy & Security in Brain-Computer Interfaces'. ) It has been proposed that a law should require signals to be filtered, so apps would only have access to the specific data they require. In the 2014 paper, Chizeck and Bonaci described their proposed method as a “BCI Anonymizer,” which would pre-process the EGG signals before they could be stored or transmitted. This approach would supposedly remove all of the user's private information. “'Unintended information leakage is prevented by never transmitting and never storing raw neural signals and any signal components that are not explicitly needed for the purpose of BCI communication and control,” Chizeck and Bonaci state in their paper. If such regulations were implemented, though, how much peace of mind would that give you, knowing that hackers always manage to find a way to bypass security? Your personal thoughts are quite a valuable commodity-- something that hackers would be quite ready to sell for profit to those who would use them against you.

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