Our minds on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

Next on Trial: Your Brain

Ran into this story regarding using brain scans in court as evidence against criminals via io9. SFgate has a bit more on the story and the general consensus is that techniques such as fMRI and new lie detection will be admissible in court within the next five years. What I don’t understand is why in neither of these articles is the 5th amendment to the Constitution even mentioned. For a fun civil rights lesson, let’s review it.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Did you notice that little part there about “nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” Can someone explain to me how a picture of your brain—namely, you—can be used as evidence against you and not be considered self-incrimination? The science is sketchy at nest at this point, but that it violates people’s 5th amendment rights is beyond the pale.

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