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Brain imaging ready to detect terrorists, say neuroscientists, Sept. 21, 2005
Brain-imaging techniques that reveal when a person is lying are now reliable enough to identify criminals, with 99% accuracy, claim University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine researchers.

When someone lies, their brain inhibits them from telling the truth, and this makes the frontal lobes more active, which can be monitored with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

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Brain fingerprints under scrutiny More on Brain Fingerprinting
Brain fingerprints under scrutiny    By Becky McCall in Seattle

Published: 2004/02/17

A controversial technique for identifying a criminal mind using involuntary brainwaves that could reveal guilt or innocence is about to take centre stage in a last-chance court appeal against a death-row conviction in the US. The technique, called "brain fingerprinting", has already been tested by the FBI and has now become part of the key evidence to overturn the murder conviction of Jimmy Ray Slaughter who is facing execution in Oklahoma.

Brain Fingerprinting, developed by Dr Larry Farwell, chief scientist and founder of Brain Fingerprinting Laboratories, is a method of reading the brain's involuntary electrical activity in response to a subject being shown certain images relating to a crime.

Unlike the polygraph or lie detector to which it is often compared, the accuracy of this technology lies in its ability to pick up the electrical signal, known as a p300 wave, before the suspect has time to affect the output.

"It is highly scientific, brain fingerprinting doesn't have anything to do with the emotions, whether a person is sweating or not; it simply detects scientifically if that information is stored in the brain," says Dr Farwell.

"It doesn't depend upon the subjective interpretation of the person conducting the test. The computer monitors the information and comes up with information present or information absent."

Dr Larry Farwell Brain fingerprinting is admissible in court for use in identifying or exonerating individuals in the US. Maximum security

A few days ago Dr Farwell ran the test on Jimmy Ray Slaughter at the maximum security state prison in Oklahoma.

A jury convicted Slaughter of shooting, stabbing and mutilating his former girlfriend, Melody Wuertz, and of shooting to death their eleven-month old-daughter, Jessica.

The crimes for which he is sentenced to death took place in a house that he is very familiar with. The results were revealing.

"Jimmy Ray Slaughter did not know where in the house the murder took place; he didn't know where the mother's body was lying or what was on her clothing at the time of death - a salient fact in the case," says Dr Farwell.

During the test, the suspect wears a headband equipped with sensors to measure activity in response to recognition of an image relating to the crime - for example, a murder weapon or possibly a code word in the case of a spy.

"In research with the FBI, we presented words and phrases that only an FBI agent would know and we could tell by the brain responses who was an FBI agent and who was not; we could do that with 100% accuracy," says Dr Farwell. Brain Fingerprinting has profound implications for the criminal justice system.

Any decision relies on more than just the outcome of a forensic test such as brain fingerprinting. However, in the light of these findings, the case for appeal hopes that Slaughter will either be granted a pardon, clemency or a retrial.

Critics of brain fingerprinting believe it needs far more refinement before its use becomes widespread and cases are won and lost on its evidence.

Needless to say, Dr Farwell disagrees.

"What I can say definitively from a scientific standpoint, is that Jimmy Ray Slaughter's brain does not contain a record of some of the most salient details about the murder for which he's been convicted and sentenced to death," says Dr Farwell.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2004/02/17 10:47:43 GMT



Believe it or not...
(Polygraph tests were always unreliable, and are now outdated.)
This has the potential to change our society... and hopefully revamp our cumbersome justice system.  (Yes, revamping the justice system is scary... the potential for loss of freedoms is great...)
A similar device changed future society in the excellent 1998 book 'The First Immortal'.  But...  IT'S ALREADY HERE NOW!
"Farwell Brain Fingerprinting is a revolutionary new technology for investigating crimes and exonerating innocent suspects, with a record of 100% accuracy in research on FBI agents, research with US government agencies, and field applications.
Brain Fingerprinting solves the central problem by determining scientifically whether a suspect has the details of a crime stored in his brain. It has received extensive media coverage around the world. The technology is fully developed and available for application."

NASA plans to read terrorist's minds at airports

NASA plans to read terrorist's minds at airports
By Frank J. Murray
Airport security screeners may soon try to read the minds of travelers
to identify terrorists.

Officials of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have told
Northwest Airlines security specialists that the agency is developing
brain-monitoring devices in cooperation with a commercial firm, which it did
not identify.

Space technology would be adapted to receive and analyze brain-wave and
heartbeat patterns, then feed that data into computerized programs "to detect
passengers who potentially might pose a threat," according to briefing
documents obtained by The Washington Times.

NASA wants to use "noninvasive neuro-electric sensors," imbedded in
gates, to collect tiny electric signals that all brains and hearts transmit.
Computers would apply statistical algorithms to correlate physiologic
patterns with computerized data on travel routines, criminal background and
credit information from "hundreds to thousands of data sources," NASA
documents say.

The notion has raised privacy concerns. Mihir Kshirsagar of the
Electronic Privacy Information Center says such technology would only add to
airport-security chaos. "A lot of people's fear of flying would send those
meters off the chart. Are they going to pull all those people aside?"

The organization obtained documents July 31, the product of a Freedom of
Information Act lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration,
and offered the documents to this newspaper.

Mr. Kshirsagar's organization is concerned about enhancements already
being added to the Computer-Aided Passenger Pre-Screening (CAPPS) system.
Data from sensing machines are intended to be added to that mix.
NASA aerospace research manager Herb Schlickenmaier told The Times the
test proposal to Northwest Airlines is one of four airline-security projects
the agency is developing. It's too soon to know whether any of it is working,
he says.

"There are baby steps for us to walk through before we can make any
pronouncements," says Mr. Schlickenmaier, the Washington official overseeing
scientists who briefed Northwest Airlines on the plan. He likened the
proposal to a super lie detector that would also measure pulse rate, body
temperature, eye-flicker rate and other biometric aspects sensed remotely.
Though adding mind reading to screening remains theoretical, Mr.
Schlickenmaier says, he confirms that NASA has a goal of measuring brain
waves and heartbeat rates of airline passengers as they pass screening
This has raised concerns that using noninvasive procedures is merely a
first step. Private researchers say reliable EEG brain waves are usually
measurable only by machines whose sensors touch the head, sometimes in a
"thinking cap" device. "To say I can take that cap off and put sensors in a
doorjamb, and as the passenger starts walking through [to allow me to say]
that they are a threat or not, is at this point a future application," Mr.
Schlickenmaier said in an interview.
"Can I build a sensor that can move off of the head and still detect the
EEG?" asks Mr. Schlickenmaier, who led NASA's development of airborne
wind-shear detectors 20 years ago. "If I can do that, and I don't know that
right now, can I package it and [then] say we can do this, or no we can't? We
are going to look at this question. Can this be done? Is the physics
Two physics professors familiar with brain-wave research, but not
associated with NASA, questioned how such testing could be feasible or
reliable for mass screening. "What they're saying they would do has not been
done, even wired in," says a national authority on neuro-electric sensing,
who asked not to be identified. He called NASA's goal "pretty far out."
Both professors also raised privacy concerns.
"Screening systems must address privacy and 'Big Brother' issues to the
extent possible," a NASA briefing paper, presented at a two-day meeting at
Northwest Airlines headquarters in St. Paul, Minn., acknowledges. Last year,
the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional police efforts to use noninvasive
"sense-enhancing technology" that is not in general public use in order to
collect data otherwise unobtainable without a warrant. However, the high
court consistently exempts airports and border posts from most Fourth
Amendment restrictions on searches.
"We're getting closer to reading minds than you might suppose," says
Robert Park, a physics professor at the University of Maryland and spokesman
for the American Physical Society. "It does make me uncomfortable. That's the
limit of privacy invasion. You can't go further than that."
"We're close to the point where they can tell to an extent what you're
thinking about by which part of the brain is activated, which is close to
reading your mind. It would be terribly complicated to try to build a device
that would read your mind as you walk by." The idea is plausible, he says,
but frightening.
At the Northwest Airlines session conducted Dec. 10-11, nine scientists
and managers from NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif.,
proposed a "pilot test" of the Aviation Security Reporting System.
NASA also requested that the airline turn over all of its computerized
passenger data for July, August and September 2001 to incorporate in NASA's
"passenger-screening testbed" that uses "threat-assessment software" to
analyze such data, biometric facial recognition and "neuro-electric sensing."
Northwest officials would not comment.
Published scientific reports show NASA researcher Alan Pope, at NASA
Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., produced a system to alert pilots or
astronauts who daydream or "zone out" for as few as five seconds.
The September 11 hijackers helped highlight one weakness of the CAPPS
system. They did dry runs that show whether a specific terrorist is likely to
be identified as a threat. Those pulled out for special checking could be
replaced by others who do not raise suspicions. The September 11 hijackers
cleared security under their own names, even though nine of them were pulled
aside for extra attention.

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