Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Cognitive liberty and the Supreme Court

The article by Jeff Rosen in the New York Times about Roberts expresses concerns about the future of privacy rights in front of the United States Supreme Court, and rightfully so. As I have written in one of the recent American Journal of Bioethics issues, in this current atmosophere of a "war on terrorism" (oops - it's now a "war on extremism"?) it is easy to see why the current administration would endorse the use of new neurotechnologies as a useful too in weeding out terrorists -- however,
what concerns me is the seeming lack of concern by the public in safeguarding our liberties . As the The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics notes, "the right to freedom of thought is situated at the core of what it means to be a free person....The civil rights battles of today and tomorrow must now focus on protecting the fundamental right to brain privacy, autonomy, and choice (i.e., 'cognitive liberty')."

Benjamin Franklin said in 1759 that “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." And as history has shown, people who give up their liberties in exchange for security end up with neither. And as history has shown, we need to be vigilant about protections of our liberties -- and this means asking nominee Roberts the tough questions about what future technologies may mean in terms of our precious rights and liberties.

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