I’m not typically one to report the news. In fact, I tend to keep my opinions on religion, politics, parenting, and most other volitile subjects to myself. But, this was entirely too disturbing.
An article on CNN’s belief blog entitiled Keep Government Out of Mind-Reading Business caught my eye this morning.
How would you feel if someone where able to reach into your brain and extract any information that they wanted to? I would feel pretty violated. I’ll admit, I still feel pretty violated after an invasive exam. But, mind-reading goes above and beyond any procedure. My mind is my mind. The end.
I see the practical applications of this technology. It would provide more accurate lie detection in law enforcement and aid in national security. It could solve crimes without sufficient physical evidence and out possible terrorists. All of these things could help make our society safer.
But, how invasive is too invasive? I agree with the author, Paul Root Wolpe, in his sentiment that our legal system is already incredibly invasive when it comes to violating our human rights. Once we are a suspect, it seems as if our civil rights go out the window. We become subject to searches in every aspect of our physical and internet lives. In fact, there was just a story about how a judge ordered a divorcing couple to swap Facebook passwords in order to collect evidence against one another. It goes down to even providing DNA samples. We are fingerprinted for jobs now.
Again, I see the useful and probably life-saving application of these measures. But, it’s completely unnecessary. Some may retort, “Why would it be a problem if you have nothing to hide?” This is where mental health concerns come into play. The differences in brain chemistry between a typical brain and an affected brain would become apparent in these mind-reading brain scans. Then, do we become profiled?
It’s already bad enough that many of us hide in the corners of the internet, safely writing behind our screens. This is all out of fear that someone will discover that we have (insert disorder here), and then the sensitive information is in someone else’s hands to do whatever they want with it. We can go on about how this information is protected under HIPPA and The American’s With Disabilities Act. However, we’ve seen people circumvent the law before. I’ve seen people use the knowledge of my disorder against me in many different ways and make my existence unbearable. Why should I be in favor of someone extracting this information by accident? Ben Franklin once said, “The only way to keep a secret between three people is if two of them are dead.”
We would become profiled. I’m sure it would be notated in some government file somewhere that would come back to haunt us. I can only imagine it. I go to renew my clearences for work, and I’m denied. Why? Because someone, somewhere in the chain of command sees me unfit for my job. Ridiculous, but true.