App Stores for the Brain: Privacy & Security in Brain-Computer Interfaces
IEEE International Symposium on Ethics in Science, Technology and Engineering, pp. 1-7, 2014
IEEE Technology & Society Magazine, Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 32-39, 2015
8 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2016
Date Written: May 23, 2014
An increasing number of Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) are being developed in medical and nonmedical fields, including marketing, gaming and entertainment industries. BCI-enabled technology carries a great potential to improve and enhance the quality of human lives. It provides people suffering from severe neuromuscular disorders with a way to interact with the external environment. It also enables a more personalized user experience in gaming and entertainment.
These BCI applications are, however, not without risk. Established engineering practices set guarantees on performance, reliability and physical safety of BCIs. But no guarantees or standards are currently in place regarding user privacy and security. In this paper, we identify privacy and security issues arising from possible misuse or inappropriate use of BCIs. In particular, we explore how current and emerging non-invasive BCI platforms can be used to extract private information, and we suggest an interdisciplinary approach to mitigating this problem. We then propose a tool to prevent this side-channel extraction of users’ private information. This is a first step towards making BCI-enabled technologies secure and privacy preserving.
Keywords: Neural Engineering, Brain Spyware, Brain Malware, Neuroethics, Neurosecurity
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