“In the future, not even our thoughts will be free from search and seizure”
A clip from a new Discovery Channel special envisages a day in the near future where the TSA will deploy mind reading technology to catch terrorists and police will subject suspects to memory scans in order to determine guilt.
The clip is taken from an episode of Futurescape entitled I Know What You’re Thinking. The program, hosted by actor James Woods, explores the positives and negatives of cutting edge research into mind reading technology and how it will be applied in the realms of both law enforcement and the consumer market.
“Imagine you’re going to the airport – TSA could figure out whether you’re a terrorist a not,” comments ethicist Fritz Allhoff as a clip plays of a stern looking TSA agent sat behind a high-tech screen headed up by the words, “TSA Mind Scanning.”
A woman then puts on a headset to allow her brain to be scanned for violent thoughts. The second traveler opts out of the process and is given a pat down.
“It shouldn’t be the case that TSA by default gets access to our thoughts, it would only be that people who wanted to participate in this sort of accelerated screening can opt in to it,” states Allhoff.
Another clip from the episode predicts that police will get warrants to deploy the mind scanning technology as we see a suspect strapped to a gurney with a brain scanning helmet placed over his head.
“Because you see in the future, not even our thoughts will be free from search and seizure,” states Woods, adding, “Is it the ultimate invasion of privacy? Yes, But it could also clear your good name or maybe even save your life.”
Reassurances that a potential TSA mind scanning program would begin as a voluntary procedure is unlikely to placate the concerns of many who have tracked the federal agency’s increasingly inane and invasive security policies.
Back in 2010, the Associated Press reported on Israeli-based WeCU Technologies, a company that was busy developing “mind reading systems” that would help airport authorities “get inside an evildoer’s head” by subjecting travelers to a battery of Pavlovian behavioral tests before they could board the plane.
The Department of Homeland Security has also trialled similar technology entitled Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST), a program that would subject Americans to pre-crime interrogations and physiological scans to detect “malintent” at sports stadiums, malls, airports and other public places.
The system works by using a computer program that studies physiological indicators of a person, such as heart rate and the steadiness of a person’s gaze, and then uses the data to make a judgment on whether that individual has “malintent”.