Paper offered to the 5th European Symposium on Non-Lethal Weapons
University of Wales, Lampeter, UK
Title of paper:
Ethical and societal implications of capacity for privacy-invasive remote interrogation and behavioural influence applications
Preferred presentation mode:
Presentation in oral session
Open literature cited in the paper on the Frey effect documents that transmission of speech was demonstrated by 1975. Subsequent military proposals for non-lethally weaponised deployments are also cited.
An open literature source cited documents the demonstration of the inference of human verbal thought from biological data collected non-invasively (i.e. without prostheses) prior to 1972, and from EEG and/or EMG data from 1975 onwards. Later cited literature confirms thought inference capacity developments. Media reports about such capacity quote token calls by researchers for ethical debate, but media refuse publication of correspondence pertinent to such debate from issue groups with an already-developed adverse ethical stance towards non-consensual technological thought inference and influence.
Cited biotelemetry open literature documents remote capture of EEG, citing benign application.
Cited open literature documents target tracking and signal-aiming technologies that would enable the targeting of specific individuals, even when moving at speed, with signals that would not affect others proximate. Such target-tracking capability would (inter alia) enable individual targeting with cited “active” telemetry (i.e. telemetry that illuminates the subject, as opposed to merely collecting biological data passively).
The thus-documented capabilities to deliver speech remotely (and, by some accounts cited herein, to deliver speech subliminally) to specific targeted individuals, and to monitor in realtime the effect upon targets of stimuli delivered, including targets’ conscious or subconscious verbal thoughts in response to stimuli, enables applications that targeted individuals would not perceive as benign. These include not only privacy-invasive interrogation applications, but also behavioural influence applications, such as the “psycho-correction” application developed by the late Prof Igor Smirnov and cited. Likely present-day or imminent feasibility of such applications warrants public ethical debate.
The potential for non-benign applications of the capabilities documented also require ethically-informed societal responses that touch upon human health and welfare, human rights, the law, medicine and politics.
About the author:
During his thirty year-long career in Information Technology, principally working in software development, and since leaving that field in 2005, John Allman has studied academically by distance learning.
From 1976, he studied Mathematics, Physics and Computing at The Open University, and was awarded jointly with another student the annual undergraduate DeBroglie Prize for Quantum Mechanics, before graduating with first class honours in 1980.
John lectured from 1983 to 1985 in Computer Studies at The University of the West of England.
He studied academic Law at DeMontfort University from 1993 to 1995, passing The Common Professional Examination.
John is presently a member of the Spiritual Leadership Team of a Christian charity called Beulah Baruch Ministries (a UK limited company, with UK registered charity 1124651). He is in charge of that company’s non-taxable trading in donated merchandise that raises funds for that charity. His present studies are for the Licence in Theology, with The University of Wales, Lampeter.