August 9, 2019 | Nature Biotechnology

Separating Neuroethics from Neurohype

Anna Wexler, PhD, argues against concerns raised by a paper on consumer neurotechnology, "Brain Leaks and Consumer Technology," in this correspondance:

"In their Commentary from the September 2018 issue, “Brain leaks and consumer neurotechnology,” Ienca et al. draw attention to a worthy topic: direct-to-consumer (DTC) neurotechnology and the question of whether current digital infrastructure, as well as ethical and legal safeguards, provide sufficient protection for consumer brain data. Ienca et al. point to three categories of existing consumer technology—brain–computer interfaces for device control or self-monitoring, devices for noninvasive neurostimulation, and neuromarketing applications of imaging technology—and argue that the brain data collected pose significant privacy and information security risks. Although the topic of DTC neurotechnology certainly warrants attention, the Commentary contains factual and conceptual errors that not only distort the reality of current DTC neurotechnology (and its regulatory oversight) but also misrepresent the state of the science."

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