A law to protect ‘mental privacy’?
Spain will follow the path of Chile and will regulate by law neurotechnologies that seek to cognitively extend the human being, such as those proposed by Elon Musk.
Published: December 28, 2021, 9:55 am
Chile is already finalizing the legislation that will regulate neurotechnologies, stating that to acquire these devices, in many cases, a prescription will be required. Spain will follow in its footsteps with a Charter of Digital Rights that regulates devices not intended to heal brain diseases, but to expand human cognition.
Business Insider reported on the BRAIN Initiative, a project that the Obama Administration launched in 2013 with the ambition of mapping the entire brain with funding amounting to $4.5 billion over 15 years. Its purpose is similar to the Human Genome Project that culminated in 2003.
The private sector has been betting on neurotechnology, especially with Neuralink, Elon Musk’s company, which plans to implant chips in human brains from 2022. The NeuroRights Foundation has therefore been promoting legislation in different parts of the world on neuro rights, the integrity and the security of mental privacy which are now at stake.
Article 19 of the current Chilean Constitution (although a constituent process is already underway to replace it) thus provides “the right to life and physical and mental integrity of the person”.
The new law “already firmly defines what neurotechnology is, what brain-computer interfaces are as well as neural data, and which will regulate how neurotechnology can be deployed and used in Chile,” explained Rafael Yuste, a Spaniard who does research at Columbia University and one of its promoters.
Yuste is part of Spain’s advisory committee of the Secretary of State for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence, an office that depends on the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation. It launched its Digital Rights Charter this year.
The charter anticipates many of the risks and criticisms that the deployment of these neurotechnological systems could face, such as that “decisions and processes” based on it “are not conditioned by the supply of incomplete or biased data, programs or information”.
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