August 31, 2021 | Technology Networks
Privacy in the Brain: The Ethics of Neurotechnology
From Technology Networks:
Anna Wexler, an assistant professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, has focused on these [non-invasive neurotechnology] direct-to-consumer devices, which not so long ago, were mainly the preserve of DIY brain hackers. “What has changed in the last few years is that we’ve been seeing more investment, from venture capitalists and others, in these devices. So, these devices have really gone from things that people would create in their basements or home garages to sleeker products with well thought-out engineering and design components,” Wexler tells Technology Networks.
The sudden glow-up that non-invasive neurotechnology has gone through has caught regulators by surprise. Wexler, who wrote in 2015 about the regulatory challenges that these devices would face, still believes that marketing brain stimulation devices as “wellness” products has allowed some companies to skip strict regulations. Is a device that makes only vague medical claims about mood boosting liable to the strict laws of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or should they be addressed by consumer product agencies? The FDA, Wexler notes, has not taken action against smaller neurotechnology companies that have made explicit medical claims about their devices.