Your Brain May Soon Be Used Against You

from the detecting-lies dept

Yet another story about advancing lie detecting technology. Now they’re talking about doing brain scans using fMRI equipment to determine when someone is lying. As always, though, someone will figure out ways to beat such a system. There are, also, privacy violation questions. It doesn’t make me any more comfortable to read the prediction that within 50 years one of the guys working on this technology thinks we’ll be effectively able to “read minds”. As one critic says in the article, “The only thing worse than a lie detector that doesn’t work is one that does.”

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Comments on “Your Brain May Soon Be Used Against You”

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Anonymous Coward says:


I’m looking forward to this. First we’ll have the voyeristic scientists tell us how it would NEVER be used on the public. That these golden hearted heroes are developing the technology to help in the fight against terrorism. The collective Lemmings of America will agree. Perhaps a demonstration to show the world how powerful yet painless this device is. Then the Lemmings will call everyone who does say, “ohhh… ahhh” a paranoid security nut. They’ll claim that the only people to oppose this are those with something to hide. After all… if you can’t trust the government how can you trust? Then we’ll have a crime that will captivate the country like the Beltway Sniper. The govenment will then request the “test” be done. Some more people will get itchy, the fatally short sighted will claim that it’s the only way to be sure and that all those who object are either paranoid or terrorists. The test will be administered and results applied to the case. Since we now have precident we’ll have people wanting to perform this test on all kinds of celebrity cases (can you say OJ?). Lawyers will try and clear there clients of crimes they didn’t commit. Procesutors will attempt to use this test to prove someones guilt. Objecting to the test will have the appearance of guilt (kinda like objecting to a lie detector test). After a few years and a thousands of tests later the device will become more commonplace. People will say the fears were unfounded. The device has done nothing but good for society. Somewhere along the line the device will be used on federal/government workers. This way they can further rule out spies or sabatures in sensitive positions. The final stage will have the device trickle down to corporations. This way they can test you for honesty on your application. After all it’s easier to mask the chemical traces of drug use than it is to change the brains’ electrical signals for dishonesty. Keep in mind… they drug test for employment at WalMart. Is that job so delicate or demanding that a joint would endanger lives or is it done to force the employees to live an employer approved lifestyle? I don’t know about you but I don’t get psyched handing a cup of warm urine to a stranger to see if I may have possibly committed a crime. The government cannot do this but WalMart can. The rights of American citizens are eroding in frightning speeds and no one seems to care or notice. This is how these invasive techniques make there way into mainstream America. It’s a slow and gradual process. Hopefully this comment lives a long time on the web. I’d love to see it again 5 years from the time the technology is introduced.

thecaptain says:

Re: Wonderful

You all should read “The Truth Machine” by James L. Halperin. Its an extremely thought provoking story about a man who invents a %100 accurate and foolproof lie detector. The background about how our society changes over the course of a couple of decades once everyone has access to the technology is interesting.

My FAVORITE aspect of that future: No more lawyers.

Anonymous Coward says:

Circumstantial evidence

Many people are under the impression that DNA, fingerprints, lie detectors, bullet analysis, etc. are the primary methods for law enforcement to collect evidence on a crime. This isn’t true. All such results are still treated as circumstantial evidence in the court of law.

Investigators still spend most of their time interviewing people, using a variety of low-tech methods to determine their truthfulness. This is also a necessary step to narrow down what kind of forensic evidence to look for; without it, we would have a hopelessly large volume of physical evidence that could mean anything.

The best way to spot liars is still to mislead people into thinking they can get away with it. A high-tech contraption that is supposed to spot liars will merely encourage people to lie better.

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