Mental Privacy in the Age of Big Data
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More troubling than a brain training company’s use of unsubstantiated claims to tap into consumer fears of losing mental acuity for financial gain, the information collected by these brain training programs may serve as yet another puzzle piece for big data firms. Now, not only can applications and search engine histories provide a robust portfolio of what an individual consciously purchases and searches, but now these brain training websites can provide deeper insights into how individuals reason and analyze information. In their article entitled “Internet-Based Brain Training Games, Citizen Scientists, and Big Data: Ethical Issues in Unprecedented Virtual Territories,” Dr. Purcell and Dr. Rommelfanger express this concern: brain training program (BTP) data “are being interpreted as current demonstrations of existing behaviors and predispositions, and not just correlations or future predictions of human cognitive capacity and performance. Yet, the vulnerability of cognitive performance data collected from BTPs has been overlooked, and we believe the rapid consumption of such games warrants a sense of immediacy to safeguarding these data” (Purcell & Rommelfanger 2015, 357). The article proceeds to question how the data collected through brain training programs will be “secured, interpreted, and used in the near and long term given evolving security threats and rapidly advancing methods of data analysis” (Purcell & Rommelfanger, 357).
Want to cite this post?
Ginsberg, J. (2017). Mental Privacy in the Age of Big Data. The Neuroethics Blog. Retrieved on , from http://www.theneuroethicsblog.com/2017/06/mental-privacy-in-age-of-big-data.html