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The Brain On The Stand

Publication Date: 
March 11, 2007
Source: 
The New York Times Magazine
Author: 
Jeffrey Rosen

Professor Henry T. "Hank" Greely, director of the Stanford Center for Law and the Biosciences, is quoted in a New York Times Magazine article, "The Trials of Neurolaw," about the potential legal implications of emerging lie-detection and memory-retrieval technologies.

"Freedom of thought has always been buttressed by the reality that you could only tell what someone thought based on their behavior," said Greely. "This technology holds out the possibility of looking through the skull and seeing what’s really happening, seeing the thoughts themselves."

"It opens up for the first time the possibility of punishing people for their thoughts rather than their actions. One reason thought has been free in the harshest dictatorships is that dictators haven’t been able to detect it." He added, "Now they may be able to, putting greater pressure on legal constraints against government interference with freedom of thought." ...