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'Brain Fingerprinting' and Thought Crimes

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NoName

'Brain Fingerprinting' and Thought Crimes

DENVER – A company behind a new technology promoting "brain fingerprinting" to fight crime and terrorism is considering Colorado for a training center that would employ up to 300 people.

Brain fingerprinting uses a headband with sensors to measure brain waves, which promoters say can help authorities determine the truth by detecting information stored in the brain.

An example is that a murder investigation could be aided if showing a picture of a murder scene to a suspect reveals brain wave measurements that indicate familiarity with the scene. The brain waves are fed through an amplifier into a computer that uses software to display and interpret them.

The hope is the results will become widely accepted as scientific and legal evidence, such as DNA tests.

Results from a test in 2000 on a man convicted in a 1977 Iowa murder showed his brain didn't hold specific knowledge of the crime but did contain details about the night of the murder that were consistent with his alibi.

The Iowa Supreme Court overturned the man's conviction last year, citing new evidence that prosecutors withheld police reports pointing to another suspect and that the state's key witness had recanted his testimony.

Brain Fingerprinting's Web site says the technology can also be used to detect Alzheimer's disease and the efficacy of drugs and other treatments and help in the fight against terrorism by identifying suspects.

Supporters of brain fingerprinting include the DaVinci Institute, a Louisville-based futurist think tank. The institute announced Wednesday the creation of a task force to work on making Colorado a national center for the technology.

Critics of the technology say it might fail if people forget details of a crime over time.

"If your memory isn't functioning [because] you're stoned when you commit the crime, you're certainly not going to remember it the next day, let alone years later," said J. Peter Rosenfeld, a psychology professor at the Institute for Neuroscience at Northwestern University in Chicago.

He said his tests of the process showed the results of brain fingerprinting were questionable.

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Loonboy

Hmmm. I'm not sure that 'brain fingerprinting' is the most apt term for what you're describing above. Brain fingerprinting would mean identifying a person by their brain; this technology is more like reading a person's mind.

It's an interesting concept, and one which, if developed, would doubtless be incredibly useful.

However, the example you cited:

Results from a test in 2000 on a man convicted in a 1977 Iowa murder showed his brain didn't hold specific knowledge of the crime but did contain details about the night of the murder that were consistent with his alibi.

The Iowa Supreme Court overturned the man's conviction last year, citing new evidence that prosecutors withheld police reports pointing to another suspect and that the state's key witness had recanted his testimony.

...has problems. Maybe this man was 'fingerprinted' by the technology, but the court overturned the conviction based upon evidence which has nothing to do with the technology at all. In this case, it might corroborate what the evidence is saying, but it seems the courts are not yet going to consider it as evidence in itself. dontgetit.gif

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TheHand

This gives a whole new meaning to this [quite] common situation:

John: "I wasn't going to do it!"

Bob: "No, but you were thinking about it!"

tongue.gif

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Marien

that's like Minority Report... but after. :/

i think that sucks. We don't have the technology yet to base things, and above all justice and penalties, on something that's supposed to read your mind... Brain is the less known organ of our body, it's very complicated, and i don't think we're able to decode it yet.

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