http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthne...n-thoughts.htmlBrain scans 'could be used to snoop on thoughts'The use of brain scanners must be regulated in order to prevent them being used to invade privacy and threaten civil liberties, a legal expert has warned.By Rebecca Smith, Medical EditorPublished: 7:25AM BST 07 Jun 2010Researchers have concerns that brain scans - already used in some death row trials in the US - could be used by British police to determine whether a suspect is lying, or has planned a crime they have yet to commit.Dr Burkhard Schafer, of the University of Edinburgh, will say that if left unregulated, scanners could threaten people's privacy. They could, for instance, be used by employers to test the honesty of an individual's CV or by commercial companies to analyse the subconscious preferences of their consumers.Experts from around the world will gather at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Glasgow today (Monday) to debate the issue. Delegates, including neuroscientists, policymakers and judges, will discuss whether cutting-edge brain imaging could be exploited to read people's thoughts and preferences.Researchers also warn that scans could reveal undiagnosed brain conditions in some individuals, causing unnecessary anxiety to them and their families, and that repeated scanning might even carry health risks.Brain scanners - already an effective tool in diagnosing disease - are now so advanced they can be used to determine people's likes, dislikes, anxieties or fears.When viewed through a scanner, different areas of the brain 'light up' when they function. This can be interpreted to read an individual's thoughts and determine whether, for example, a person likes or dislikes an image they are being shown.At present there are no guidelines on how brain scanning information should be used or what protections should be in place to ensure the rights of vulnerable people.The two-day event is part of a programme hosted and funded by the Institute for Advanced Studies. The programme organisers are the Scottish Imaging Network (SINAPSE), the Scottish Futures Forum, the Institute for Advanced Studies, Strathclyde and the University of Edinburgh.It will include a public lecture by leading expert in law and biomedical ethics, Professor Hank Greely of Stanford University, on Monday.Burkhard Schafer, of the SCRIPT Centre for Research in Intellectual Property and Technology at the University of Edinburgh, said "After data mining and online profiling, brain imaging could well become the next frontier in the privacy wars. The promise to read a person's mind is beguiling, and some applications will be greatly beneficial. But a combination of exaggerated claims by commercial providers, inadequate legal regulation and the persuasive power of images bring very real dangers for us as citizens."The task ahead is not just to ensure that the use of brain imaging in courts or by other decision makers is scientifically sound and reliable. We also need to ensure that the law protects what is the innermost core of our privacy, our thoughts, deepest wishes and desires, from unwarranted intrusion."Professor Joanna Wardlaw, Professor of Applied Neuroimaging at the University of Edinburgh, said: "Brain imaging has emerged at astounding speed in the last decade and it is an extremely powerful method of finding out about how the brain works. But currently, once outside the medical or scientific arena, the use of imaging is completely unregulated."Is it right that someone should be convicted of a serious crime, or let off, on the basis of evidence coming from brain imaging? We don't think the technology is ready for that yet, but we need an open and frank discussion to decide where we go next."The public are also invited to take part in a survey about the ethics of brain imaging - http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/neuroimagingsurvey.