To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Monday, March 19, 2007

"Minority Report" America?

Slate's William Saletan thoughtfully contemplates the implications of "Full Mental Nudity."
if machines can read your mind when you want them to, they can also read it when you don't. And your will isn't necessarily the one they obey. Already, scans have been used to identify brain signatures of disgust, drug cravings, unconscious racism, and suppressed sexual arousal, not to mention psychopathy and propensity to kill...

I'd love to have put Khalid Sheikh Mohammed through an fMRI before Sept. 11, 2001, instead of waiting six years for his confession. And I wish we'd scanned Mohamed Atta's brain before he boarded that flight out of Boston. But what Haynes is saying—and exposing—is almost more terrifying than terrorism. The brain is becoming just another accessible body part, searchable for threats and evidence. We can sift through your belongings, pat you down, study your nude form through your clothes, inspect your body cavities, and, if necessary, peer into your mind.
As is the case with all technology, we have to presume that the government will use it to further the power of the state, as that is what they do. Plus, don't we all have awful thoughts that are just fantasies, like killing one's boss? Kudos to Slate, which has both Saletan and Dahlia Lithwick as featured writers and they both tend libertarian.

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