The headline in a recent ExtremeTech article reads,
“Hackers backdoor the human brain, successfully extract sensitive data”
With a chilling hint of the not-so-distant future, researchers at the Usenix Security conference have demonstrated a zero-day vulnerability in your brain. Using a commercial off-the-shelf brain-computer interface, the researchers have shown that it’s possible to hack your brain, forcing you to reveal information that you’d rather keep secret.
It talks about the BCI or Brain Computer Interface.
“….which is usually a headset (an EEG; an electroencephalograph) with sensors that rest on your scalp — and software, which processes your brain activity and tries to work out what you’re trying to do (turn left, double click, open box, etc.)
BCIs are generally used in a medical setting with very expensive equipment, but in the last few years cheaper, commercial offerings have emerged. For $200-300, you can buy an Emotiv or Neurosky BCI, go through a short training process, and begin mind controlling your computer.”
Here’s the Emotiv blurb on the Discovery channel.
and Emotive EPOC – Controlling Games with Your Mind.
and Mind Controlling the Angry Birds Game.
What I find interesting, is not the fact that you can play games, simply by thought, gestures and facial expressions, but what the article says at the end.
“…..security researchers — from the Universities of Oxford and Geneva, and the University of California, Berkeley — created a custom program that was specially designed with the sole purpose of finding out sensitive data, such as the location of your home, your debit card PIN, which bank you use, and your date of birth. The researchers tried out their program on 28 participants (who were cooperative and didn’t know that they were being brain-hacked), and in general the experiments had a 10 to 40% chance of success of obtaining useful information.”
So, lets take a look at Emotiv, its Partners and Researchers.
Emotiv have a very slick, professional looking website, with Partners that include:
- Lockheed Martin
- Intel, and
- a huge gaggle of universities such as Carnegie Mellon
Additionally, they are happily featured by mainstream media such as the BBC, CNBC, ABC, Discovery Channel, NewScientist, Wired and Forbes.
It is quite troubling that people could have their personal information stolen, simply by playing what they think is a normal game controlled by a BCI device, when in reality it is a carefully engineered piece of software designed to pull private data from the target’s mind, such as – bank cards, PIN numbers, and so on. What is even more disturbing and sinister, is that Emotiv’s partners, researchers, supporters and sponsors, are part of the global corporate-financier-military industrial oligarchy.
There is no doubt, that an agency such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), would be somehow involved, and it is highly likely that programs will be created in such a sophisticated manner, that most people would not be able to tell that they’re being actively attacked in order to obtain their most private and sensitive information.
In case you didn’t know, DARPA is developing Brain-Scanning Binoculars to harness soldiers’ unconscious minds to locate threats. The system is known as Sentinel (for System for Notification of Threats Inspired by Neurally Enabled Learning), and it basically uses the power of the human brain to scan and filter imagery in realtime, picking up on both what the soldier recognizes consciously and what his unconscious might perceive as well. Through electroencephalogram (EEG), the device can pick up on a brain signal known as P300 that signifies an unconscious recognition of something visual. It can take the brain some time to become conscious of things it sees, and when seconds are critical–say, in the case of a convoy barreling toward a buried IED–the Sentinel recognizes the P300 signal imparted by the unconscious perception of that threat and alerts the soldier that he has just seen something significant, trimming the time between his seeing something and actually perceiving the threat.
It’s unlikely to take very long, before they engineer these devices, whereby they can selectively and silently choose to impact a users thoughts, by some type of feedback signal, to influence and perhaps control the emotions, beliefs and actions, or even affect physical, mental and other biological functions . Anyone questioning “Government authority” or the wisdom of its actions, no longer need be classified as a “terrorist”, arrested, tortured, drugged and imprisoned, but simply, electronically tranquillised.
In a science-fictional future, isn’t it almost guaranteed that the government would mandate the inclusion of brain-hacking software in the operating system itself? It will then be time to welcome in, the electronic equivalent of, “Soma”, the opiate of Huxley’s Brave New World.