Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Scientists measure brain waves to figure out personal information

The Emotiv Epoc is one way that users can give...
The Emotiv Epoc is one way that users can give commands to devices using only thoughts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Upstart Business Journal

by Amora McDaniel , Reporter August 28, 2012  |  10:39am EDT

Scientists used a commercially-available gaming headset to hack a person’s brain and identify his address, PIN numbers and bank information, according to the UK's Daily Mail.
English: The Daily Mail clock, just off Kensin...
English: The Daily Mail clock, just off Kensington High Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The scientists from the University of California, University of Oxford, and University of Geneva took an everyday Emotiv brain-computer interface—a $300 commercial-grade headset—and showed the subjects pictures of images of familiar objects such as banks, people, and PIN numbers. They then tracked the person’s P300 brain wave, the signal that activates when
a person recognizes meaningful information.

Image representing TechCrunch as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase
The results were pretty scary. The Daily Mail reports the team was able to figure out where the person lived 60 percent of the time and determined the first number of the subject’s PIN number 40 percent of the time.
TechCrunch adds the scientists could also determine the person’s birth month 60 percent of the time and the bank branch of their ATM with 30 percent accuracy.

Scientists said the benefit of this brain-hacking technology would be for police interrogation. Maybe so, but the information they gleaned from the subject's brains was more information than a hacker would need to change someone's password over the phone. This technology has the potential to be really awesome or really dangerous.
Amora McDaniel
Reporter - Upstart Business Journal
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