Two researchers have put a proposal for four new human rights whose purpose would be to protect the human brain’s privacy.

Marcello Ienca, a neuroethicist at the University of Basel, and Roberto Andorno, a human rights lawyer at the University of Zurich said: “The question we asked was whether our current human rights framework was well equipped to face this new trend in neurotechnology…The information in our brains should be entitled to special protections in this era of ever-evolving technology… When that goes, everything goes.”

This comes after the new sweeping trend in major technology companies to try and read brains in order to create new software. While the trend is something that is being hailed as a great breakthrough, many others like Marclello are concerned with the ever growing need for privacy and the threat of hacking.

What are the four proposed rights?

Cognitive liberty

Cognitive liberty is the proposed right to allow a person’s freedom to use or to refuse to use brain stimulation techniques or other cognitive enhancers. The US government recently found that zapping the brain with weak electric current helps to increase brain function and ability. This proposed right protects employees from having to go through the procedure if asked to at their place of employment.

Mental Privacy

The right to mental privacy essentially helps to stop your brain being read without consent. Modern brain scanners have not yet reached such a sophisticated level. However, small advances have been made such as scanners being able to reconstruct short clips from memory recall.

Mental integrity

The main aim of this right is to prevent hackers or criminals from interfering with the scanners, chips or other devices that may be connected to one’s brains. The aim of the interfering with them would be disrupted data, alter brain activity or steal information.

Phycological continuity

This right proposes helping a person to remain themselves and to retain their identity. The aim of the right is to prevent people from developing different personalities, or changed behaviours. Recent surgery on patients who have Parkinson’s included having electrodes being implanted deep within the brain. Many of the patients have stated that they don’t feel they have the same identity.

While the four rights may seem a little unnecessary right now, Ienca argues that we don’t to have too little protection, too late.

For legal advice on personal technology or more call our team on