How do you feel about the CIA reading your thoughts?

How would you like to have government agents reading your mind? Yeah, I thought so. Unfortunately for you, however, media sources are reporting that such synthetic telepathy is now a reality.

At the end of 2008, it was revealed that scientists have created a technology that can display (on a computer monitor) dreams and other images that people have on their minds, both asleep and awake. Then there’s the “Audeo.” Developed by the company Ambient as a  thought-reading device, the Audeo picks up high-frequency signals sent from a user’s brain to the vocal cords, and digitally “voices” the user’s thoughts—all without the user physically saying a word. And another new technology, SSRM tech, is part of a government “counterterrorism” research project intended to identify people’s “true” thoughts. The technology is intended to scan the thoughts and brain activity of airline passengers about to board planes — under the theory that terrorists will have different responses to stimuli than do other passengers.

Scientists developing these technologies often point to their uses for the disabled. For instance, a device like the Audeo can allow a deaf or mute person to communicate more easily. But in a recent special on mind control, the History Channel suggested that some of these new technologies could also contribute to a new crime called “thought theft” — hacking into other people’s thoughts without their knowledge or consent.

And there’s already evidence that the government is also using these tools in questionable (possibly illegal or unconstitutional) ways. Considering known intelligence agency abuses (se, e.g., COINTELPRO, MK-ULTRA, etc.), does the well-worn excuse of “national security” justify this ultimate invasion of privacy — reading people’s thoughts without their permission?

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