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Reading Terrorists' Minds About Imminent Attack

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the that-sounds-rather-pat dept.

Crime 206

An anonymous reader writes "Imagine technology that allows you to get inside the mind of a terrorist to know how, when, and where the next attack will occur. In the Northwestern study, when researchers knew in advance specifics of the planned attacks by the make-believe 'terrorists,' they were able to correlate P300 brain waves to guilty knowledge with 100 percent accuracy in the lab, said J. Peter Rosenfeld, professor of psychology in Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences."

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They know it for Cyber Terror already (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099126)

They already know whats happening on the internet with Narus (formerly carnivore)... But thats good at least for the non techy terrorists.

Re:They know it for Cyber Terror already (4, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099194)

http://wikileaks.org/wiki/EU_social_network_spy_system_brief,_INDECT_Work_Package_4,_2009 [wikileaks.org]
Also gives them friends, friends of friends.
Use the wrong phrase, words, have a friend of a friend who did ...
If your a freedom fighter, the effort to compartmentalise may not save you.
Best to just have a bland online life of mainstream sport, music and safe news.
Face to face for the rest :)

Thoughtcrime - doubleplus ungood... (4, Insightful)

Bodhammer (559311) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099128)

"The thought police would get him just the same. He had committed--would have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper--the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you." - George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 1

Re:Thoughtcrime - doubleplus ungood... (4, Insightful)

Bodhammer (559311) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099136)

"It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself--anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face...; was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime..." - George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 5

'guilty knowledge'? (3, Insightful)

beh (4759) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099744)

I just wonder, how they classify guilty knowledge?

Is it really guilty knowledge of a criminally relevant nature?

Picture this:

Interrogator A: Do you know about an upcoming terrorist attack?

Suspect: No!

Machine indicates guilty knowledge!

What the machine doesn't get, the guilty knowledge is actually the suspect having an illicit affair with the interrogator's wife...

You think the machine can handle the difference?

Even if the suspect shows a guilty knowledge during the whole test, even on completely irrelevant questions - will the investigator really think it could be guilty knowledge about anything that isn't criminally relevant? ...or maybe, it is about a crime, but not about terrorism? Would the suspect now need to confess to everything (maybe a break-in somewhere), just to prove he/she has a 'good' reason for 'guilty knowledge' that doesn't have anything to do with an impending terrorist attack?

And - if that were to cover it - what in the case of two crimes - a break-in I committed, and knowledge of an impending terrorist attack. If I can 'show' I was the perpetrator behind a break-in (or even show that I know who was behind the break-in); will the machine still be able to say that there is guilty knowledge about two completely separate things?

Re:'guilty knowledge'? (3, Informative)

andreicio (1209692) | more than 3 years ago | (#33099934)

Just to make it easy on those that refuse to RTFA, here's a key quote from it, that should answer your question and clear up things a bit:

with electrodes attached to their scalps, they looked at a computer display monitor that presented names of stimuli. The names of Boston, Houston, New York, Chicago and Phoenix, for example, were shuffled and presented at random. The city that study participants chose for the major terrorist attack evoked the largest P300 brainwave responses.

Yes, it's still not a perfect tool, but better than a polygraph test, and that's what they're going for. One little step at a time :)

Re:Thoughtcrime - doubleplus ungood... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099310)

"There is no use in pretending, your eyes give you away ..."

                                                                                            - Tom Petty, "Breakdown"

Re:Thoughtcrime - doubleplus ungood... (1)

AfroTrance (984230) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099568)

You're a traitor! You're a thought-criminal! You're a Eurasian spy! I'll shoot you, I'll vaporize you, I'll send you to the salt mines!

so PRE crime starts now and how do they jury trail (3, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099140)

so PRE crime starts now and how do they hope to use this in a jury trial?

Re:so PRE crime starts now and how do they jury tr (4, Insightful)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099148)

Relax, citizen!

You only need a jury if you have something to hide.

Re:so PRE crime starts now and how do they jury tr (2, Interesting)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099176)

Or you are Walter Mitty [wikipedia.org] .

Re:so PRE crime starts now and how do they jury tr (5, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099888)

As long as public indecency is illegal we all have something to hide.

Re:so PRE crime starts now and how do they jury tr (1)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099312)

Why would there be a trial if the machine has proven your guilt?

but they saying you will do something that they st (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099354)

but they saying you will do something that they stop you form doing and this sounds like a easy to wait to lock some one away that they don't like with stuff that some may say is junk science.

Put away with sudo science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099406)

I agree we, have a do not fly list with thousands of american's that are supposed to be terrorist a few of them for political reasons. Please stop with the assumption that this works, all you have to do is modify some mri images which is quite easy to do and then state that the individual is about to do something, very easy to frame with just an image hack. This is insane, if your not in the camp that belives 9/11 was allowed to ocur in order to remove liberties from true patriots, now they will have the power to state that you are planing something and use this as supposed evidence. Which okay fine nothing to hide, same as when a cop searches your car, but by allowing a single cop by him self to search you car they can plant evidence and thus can put people away for political, or racial reasons. Akay fine if we want to remove the fifth amemdment, forget the fact that the patriot act removed has removed "Habeas corpus", where do we stop if you want to get an mri image of some one fine, but to charge some one with a supposed crime that there is no evidence except a few images is quite insane sounds similar to the salem which trails, if they are whitches they will float if not they will die and thus goto heaven.

Re:so PRE crime starts now and how do they jury tr (4, Interesting)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099390)

It's simple. In a jury trial, the jurors would have to pass that test themselves before they get selected as jurors.

It's just like they use the polygraph test in the CIA and in the FBI. The employees that say the test is idiotic [antipolygraph.org] publicly end up automatically failing the next polygraph test they take, and lose their security clearance and all credibility. The process is very circular and self-selective that way. It ensures that only the people that believe in the lie detector, or the people that claim to believe in the lie detector throughout their career, end up accepted and re-accepted within the inner sanctum. Such a device is used to create unquestioning yes-men in those agencies.

It's a lot like the Church of Scientology, in fact the Church of Scientology has been using devices that work very similarly to lie detector tests. Their device is also used for both intimidation and punishment for not toeing the official line.

Re:so PRE crime starts now and how do they jury tr (5, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099432)

It's not a problem. A jury trial is only required to prosecute you of a crime you actually have committed.

Holding you imprisoned based on a crime you thought about committing, doesn't require you to be guilty.

Also, your inability to gain access to a lawyer, see visitors, or have anyone be informed of where you are (or that you are held), due to restrictions imposed on people thinking about terrorism, will prevent you from challenging the authorities' decision to hold you.

Re:so PRE crime starts now and how do they jury tr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099534)

Ding ding ding, now that we've decided you are dangerous, we can detain you forever just like those pedophiles the government declared too dangerous to release.

Re:so PRE crime starts now and how do they jury tr (4, Insightful)

hol (89786) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099496)

Never mind those silly details like due process and unreasonable search & seizure . We're talking terrorism here, so it's straight off to room 101 with you.

Re:so PRE crime starts now and how do they jury tr (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099894)

Oh you wanted 'interrogation'? It is in 101a now, we switched recently. 101 is torture now.

Re:so PRE crime starts now and how do they jury tr (1)

TheEyes (1686556) | more than 3 years ago | (#33099956)

We'll also accept child pornography, political views in opposition to the party in power, or the belief that corporations do not deserve more human rights than actual humans.

Re:so PRE crime starts now and how do they jury tr (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099542)

how do they hope to use this in a jury trial?

We should not go through the formality of a trial [youtube.com] (2:16 into the video). Hey, it was 1987. Back when we were still the good guys.

Depressing thing is I'm not worried about the people who really are guilty of the sorts of things for which the government dispenses with the formality of a trial. I'm worried about the people against whom the evidence so flimsy that the government does hold a trial, because being accused is good enough to ruin a life, just to be on the safe side.

Disappear a hundred people, nobody notices. Disappear a million people, everybody notices. Disappearing people is expensive.

But try a million people for whatever the crime du jour happens to be, and nobody bats an eye. Doesn't matter if they're guilty or not, as long as the public feels protected.

They already have. (4, Interesting)

neoshroom (324937) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099562)

This technique has already been used in jury trials, both to convict one gentleman and to clear another man who was charged with a crime he did not commit. The technique is not related to Minority-Report-type pre-crime and from what I've read it actually seems more scientific than the polygraph.

The basic idea behind the technique is there is a certain detectable pattern in the brain when exposed to information that triggers when the information is novel verses if the information is familiar. The basic experimental setup involved being exposed to pictures and other information that the individual is certain not to have been previously exposed to in the case and which he or she could only be aware of if he or she was the one who committed the crime. For example, known details of the crime scene which the accused was not made aware of in the trial could be shown. The technique would then register whether this information was already in the brain or whether it was novel information.

As I said, it does seem much more scientific a process than the polygraph, however, it is still susceptible to faulty experimental setup. For example, if the accused was unknowingly exposed to details of the crime through gossip or rumour that the experimenter was aware the accused already knew, it could result in a false positive. Additionally, the classical danger in many forensic "science" techniques is that they often are not double-blind or truly scientific in many senses and that prosecutors are and frequently do interact with forensic "scientists" to try to influence results. There is also the constant problem of juries rarely being fully qualified to understand these techniques. For example, a forensic scientist may say a fingerprint was a "partial match" and juries will find the fact the technician used the word "match" significant enough to convict, even though such a measure is more of an art than a science.

The P300 technique is definitely a step beyond such crude tools as the polygraph, but until we fix the many, many significant problems of our criminal justice system it may still only be a more accurate tool in a biased and broken toolbox.

P.S. The article stub did not even mention the common name of the technique, which is called Brain Fingerprinting [wikipedia.org] .

Small fix (1)

neoshroom (324937) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099576)

"that the experimenter was aware the accused already knew" should be "that the experimenter was unaware the accused already knew"

PRE crime started long ago: Sedition (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33099954)

A common pPre-crime activity is known as sedition. Go look it up.

Lab Accuracy != Real World Accuracy (5, Insightful)

Da Cheez (1069822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099144)

"they were able to correlate P300 brain waves to guilty knowledge with 100 percent accuracy in the lab"

Bet the accuracy wouldn't be so good in a non-controlled, non-laboratory environment. Of course, that wouldn't necessarily stop such a technology from being used, now would it?

Re:Lab Accuracy != Real World Accuracy (5, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099178)

"Without any prior knowledge of the planned crime in our mock terrorism scenarios, we were able to identify 10 out of 12 terrorists and, among them, 20 out of 30 crime- related details,"

Yeah, 10 out of 12 is 100%. We need to give these guys more money so they can upgrade from their first generation pentiums.

Re:Lab Accuracy != Real World Accuracy (3, Insightful)

IgnitusBoyone (840214) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099230)

I'm instantly skeptical of any study that claims 100%. I need to reread the article again, but they latter talk about 80% in trials so I am not even sure why they boast about a theoretical 100 percent.

Re:Lab Accuracy != Real World Accuracy (5, Informative)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099328)

The 10/12 is a new study "without advanced knowledge of the `terrorist' plans," whereas the 100% was with this knowledge. The presence of this distinction should further set the stage for skepticism about their experimental design.

Further, they have achieved only 100% (resp. 83%) sensitivity (=true positives) with an unknown (or unreported) specificity (=true negatives) since they had no controls. What if I'm having an affair or high-stakes slightly-shady business deal in New York?

Re:Lab Accuracy != Real World Accuracy (2, Insightful)

quixote9 (999874) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099452)

It sure seems that if they knew the specifics in advance, they could eschew the whole mindreading thing and just get on with stopping the attack. But maybe that's just me.

Re:Lab Accuracy != Real World Accuracy (5, Insightful)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099474)

It is really easy to achieve a 100% true positive rate. Just accuse everyone.

The article didn't mention false positives. It would not surprise me at all if this technology would have at least two orders of magnitude more false positives than true positives in the real world. You can't get away from the fact that terrorists are rare so they will be lost in the noise of all the people who are not terrorists.

Let's say the police go through 50 suspects, none of whom are terrorists. With an 83% accuracy rate the odds of all suspects correctly identifying no targets is 0.83^50 = 8.99 x 10^-5 = 0.00899%. In other words, with just 50 suspects there is better than a 99.99% chance law enforcement would be acting on bogus information. It takes only four suspects before there is better than a 50% chance of acting on bogus information.

Real world use would likely see results worse than the 83% achieved in the lab.

Re:Lab Accuracy != Real World Accuracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099298)

I'd be surprised if their results work in reality. I'd guess that a much higher fraction of terrorists are sociopaths than of the general population. Simply put, sociopaths don't feel guilt, so their brain waves would be different.

Re:Lab Accuracy != Real World Accuracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099434)

Lab Accuracy != Real World Accuracy

Damn strait. Polygraphs can be made to work %100 under lab conditions and they are worth jack squat in the real world.

Re:Lab Accuracy != Real World Accuracy (1)

vxice (1690200) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099640)

"know how, when, and where the next attack will occur. In the Northwestern study, when researchers knew in advance specifics of the planned attacks ... 100% accuracy." Hindsight is always 20/20. Bring me something that PREDICTS then I will pay attention.

Terrorists schmerrorists (5, Insightful)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099150)

Why is everything legitimized by putting the word terrorist in it? What does this have to do with terrorism?

As someone said here on /., terrorism is one of the magic keys, the other being child porn.

Re:Terrorists schmerrorists (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099184)

I want to use this tech on the good Doctor himself and see what his actual plans for this device are.

Re:Terrorists schmerrorists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099264)

Think of the children!

Incidentally, with this new technology, even thinking about the children may be enough to land you in jail.

Re:Terrorists schmerrorists (1)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099296)

Not everything. Some things require "think of the children."

Re:Terrorists schmerrorists (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099350)

"We've gotten a tip about this George Washington fellow. Seems he is planning a terrorist attack on our troops in Boston Harbor."

Re:Terrorists schmerrorists (4, Interesting)

quenda (644621) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099516)

Why is everything legitimized by putting the word terrorist in it?

Because "communist" just doesn't have the same impact any more. Didn't you get the memo? Its a choice between terrorist and paedophile now. And we already have mind-reading for the latter menace. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Terrorists schmerrorists (1)

Da Cheez (1069822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099536)

Why is everything legitimized by putting the word terrorist in it? What does this have to do with terrorism?

As someone said here on /., terrorism is one of the magic keys, the other being child porn.

Because if you don't have magic keys like that, then the terrorists and pedophiles win!

Re:Terrorists schmerrorists (1)

AfroTrance (984230) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099638)

Don't listen to him! He is a terrorist! You don't need to measure his brainwaves to know he is guilty.

Re:Terrorists schmerrorists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099752)

You're a terrorist, aren't you?

the villain doesn't know they're the villain (2, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099162)

Even if this machine can distinguish guilt at 100% accuracy, that's useless. A fake terrorist may feel guilty about what they're doing. A cartoon antagonist is aware of his evilness, because he's from the same mind as the protagonist. In good fiction, the villain shouldn't know they're the villain. In real life, the jihadist doesn't see their tasks as being bad, they feel no guilt about breaking our ethos, because it's not his ethos. He feels adamant that his actions are the true path to righteousness. Why feel guilty about helping God/Allah/Poohbear in the Ultimate Struggle? Do you think the Floridians who want to burn the Quran feel guilt or remorse about what they're doing? Hell no, they feel that the Almighty wants to act through them to purify their little part of the world.

Re:the villain doesn't know they're the villain (3, Insightful)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099214)

It's not clear to me that guilt is what's being detected, though. They use the phrase "guilty knowledge", but could mean something that would make them legally guilty or just information that they want hidden. After all, the researcher subjects surely didn't feel guilt for imagining terrorist attacks that they weren't really going to carry out.

Now, granted, this technique doesn't point to terrorist motives or even anything legally culpable. (It sounds like I might trigger a positive be having any sort of hidden information in mind, including the fact that I'm traveling to Argentina to see my mistress there.) But it might still be quite useful as a way to focus in on some people over others. After all, the major problem of security in a lot of venues is volume of people to be screened. If you can cut that down by a factor of 10 or 100, that helps.

On the third hand, it's not clear how useful this is, since it involves skin contact right now. Or how many false positives it'll yield in a real setting. If more than half of people have some "guilty knowledge" at any time, yeah, it's useless.

Re:the villain doesn't know they're the villain (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099244)

In good fiction, the villain shouldn't know they're the villain.

Dick Cheney does. His greatest regret is his inability to grow a twirlable mustache.

But then, reality has never operated under the same constraints as fiction.

Re:the villain doesn't know they're the villain (1)

Smegoid (585137) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099262)

You've misunderstood the use of the term guilty knowledge [google.com] . In this context it doesn't mean the participant feels guilty. Guilty knowledge could have been showing you a picture of an apple that you'd previously seen.

This would have been obvious if you had read the article. No guilty knowledge for you!

Re:the villain doesn't know they're the villain (4, Interesting)

PapayaSF (721268) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099268)

Did you read the article? (Or did the people modding you up?) The whole point of the technology is that it's reading knowledge, not emotions.

I think the predictable references to Orwell and precrime are also off-target. This is not about mass surveillance: it requires electrodes and detailed preparation. This is not about convicting people of a crime: it's not admissible. This is a potentially useful (and legal, painless, and humane) interrogation tool, for use when when you have some possible knowledge about a pending attack, and a person in custody who may know about it.

Of course, like anything else, it has the potential for misuse, but I don't see anything inherently evil in it.

Re:the villain doesn't know they're the villain (1)

Tetetrasaurus (1859006) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099892)

Of course that's not useless. False positives in the selected set are okay as long as the true positives are all in the selected set as well -- letting go of a terrorist is bad. Once the event has been resolved, the false positives should be exonerated quite quickly.

Now all we need to do is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099164)

If only we had a way to get the terrorists to admit to the upcoming crime so we could use the machine to figure out if they're involved.... Wait a second..

How to defeat this (4, Interesting)

zymurgy_cat (627260) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099166)

1) Train terrorists.
2) Put them in sleeper cells.
3) Set up weapons/equipment/etc. without their knowledge.
4) Run "activation" drills often so they don't know if it's the real thing or not. This will condition them. It can also test detection methods.
5) Activate them for the "real thing", but do not give details until right before they are to execute the attack. Emails, text messages, phone calls, coded written instructions left with equipment or plans can be used.
6) Those caught before receiving last minute instructions provide useless intelligence and can be used as decoys or sacrificial losses to tie up law enforcement and misdirect them. Consider using decoys (unknown to themselves) with false information to delay and confuse law enforcement.

Re:How to defeat this (2, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099234)

Interesting post.

That's kinda the point, though. The poseurs and morons (like the hotdog stand owners and other angry rubes who are deliberately set up by American intelligence for the sake of budget justification and media fluff) are the only ones who will justify the use of this technology and all associated make-work programs.

The real ones who exercise more care (possibly as per your rules) never get caught until its too late.

p.s. Congratulations, your post just earned you a one-way ticket to beautiful Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Re:How to defeat this (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099266)

It's an old bar trick used at closing time. Have the one sober guy act the most obnoxious, and drive the most erratically to draw the cops away from the rest so they can get home and into the house without waking up the wife. The "designated distraction"...

Re:How to defeat this (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099366)

Have a training exercise too, gives cover, as any suspect for 24h must be an actor :)
Also tell any on ground people that its all for the gov, then swap out the package :)
So many options to get clean minds :)

Re:How to defeat this (1)

Fast Thick Pants (1081517) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099482)

Exactly so. To the extent that this technology actually works, it will be circumventable. Exactly like people can beat a lie detector test with training, and exactly like malware writers love to wring their creations though virustotal until they report clean.

Re:How to defeat this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099620)

Let's say this "machine" is 100% accurate of people who want to do harm. Would it not be fair to use it in practice ? All it would do is take those with a "bleep" onto more detailed check. It's not like it would electrecute them on sight. Let's embrace technology to keep us safe, not focus on things that could go wrong.

LONG LIFE THE TEA PARTY!!!! (sarcasim)

Numbers in the article don't match the summary (1)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099190)

"Without any prior knowledge of the planned crime in our mock terrorism scenarios, we were able to identify 10 out of 12 terrorists and, among them, 20 out of 30 crime- related details," Rosenfeld said. "The test was 83 percent accurate in predicting concealed knowledge, suggesting that our complex protocol could identify future terrorist activity."

(Emphasis mine)

In fairness to Timothy, the linked story does have the "100 percent accuracy" soundbyte in it. I'm guessing the journalist took something the researcher said out of context.

Re:Numbers in the article don't match the summary (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099480)

Or you could just read the article and the article's summery.

The 100% was when the testers knew the answers. The 20 out of 30 was when they were going blind and attempting to find information out not already known. The beginning of the part you quoted should have been the indicating piece of knowledge as it starts out with "Without any prior knowledge of the planned crime in our mock terrorism scenarios", where the article summery states " when researchers knew in advance specifics of the planned attacks by the make-believe 'terrorists,' they were able to correlate P300 brain waves to guilty knowledge with 100 percent accuracy in the lab".

and if we put that altogether, it would seem that without knowing anything about the crime or planned crime, researchers were not as accurate as when they knew the details of the crime or planned crime in which case they were 100% accurate. So both is correct, 100% and 83%. this is because the numbers correlate to two separate issues.

Last time I checked... (3, Insightful)

euyis (1521257) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099192)

...terrorists don't have telepathic links with each other, so catching a terrorist and constantly monitoring his mind won't work.
And I don't think that there're terrorists who don't change their plans, run away, or go into hiding after realizing that one of their teammates was caught. If they're really that dumb and don't flee, they're not going to bomb anything successfully anyway.

Re:Last time I checked... (1)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099334)

These scanners would be placed at entrances to any major buildings. Airports, sports stadium, schools, police stations, etc.. Scanning hundreds of people every hour.

Re:Last time I checked... (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099360)

FTA: "Rosenfeld is a leading scholar in the study of P300 testing to reveal concealed information. Basically, electrodes are attached to the scalp to record P300 brain activity -- or brief electrical patterns in the cortex -- that occur, according to the research, when meaningful information is presented to a person with 'guilty knowledge.'"

Re:Last time I checked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099396)

...terrorists don't have telepathic links with each other,

Unless you're watching Avatar.

Re:Last time I checked... (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099760)

...terrorists don't have telepathic links with each other

You seem to know an awful lot about terrorists. Are you sure you aren't one? Better go submit yourself for a brain scan just to be sure.

Define 'guilty' (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099218)

You know, feeling of guilt, the remorse, knowing and regretting what you've done or are planning on doing. I don't think a terrorist would feel guilt.

And, given how Grant from Mythbusters was able to slip by a fMRI [mythbustersresults.com] by keeping his brain busy, I wonder if a similar tactic could be used. Since it sounds like they're recording specific brain waves and/or from a specific area, wouldn't the only thing you have to do to send the bomb squad to the wrong place is to think of something you regret when the wrong city comes up?

Or do that for several cities. Or just bomb some backwoods shithole. Man, that'd really drive the media in a frenzy.

Just like what people say about not really being able to trust open source unless you inspect the code and compile it using your own compiler on a system you built from scratch, you can't really trust a person or their reactions without the full knowledge, experience, and feelings they've picked up. That's what guilt is. It's not tangible. It's subjective.

Re:Define 'guilty' (2, Informative)

Rary (566291) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099404)

The method doesn't look for guilt, it looks for knowledge. They use the phrase "guilty knowledge", but what they really mean is "knowledge that indicates that you're guilty". A better term would be "target knowledge".

Basically, as I understand it, it works like this: I suspect that you have been to a particular location, so I show you a bunch of pictures of various locations. One of the locations I show you is the location I suspect you have been to, and the rest are locations that I have reason to believe you have never been to. When you see the location that is familiar to you, the device supposedly picks up brainwave activity that indicates this. That is the "guilty knowledge". It's not that you feel guilty about it, it's just that it's the knowledge that indicates that you are "guilty" of whatever it is that I'm investigating. It's the knowledge that I'm looking for.

If there's any value to this, it could replace polygraphs (which are absolute garbage and should never, ever, ever, ever, EVER be used for anything, period). If I ask you "have you ever met Bob", where "Bob" is the ringleader of a terrorist cell, and you say "nope, never heard of him", then I show you pictures of people, including Bob, and if the device lights up to say that you recognize Bob, then I know you just lied to me.

A new twist on an old idea...a beat up for funds? (1)

brisvegasdan (1754330) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099246)

P300 has been around quite a while in psychophysiology, turning it to terrorists sounds like a possible beat up to meet priority funding by NIH or similar? though they just might be onto something if the implementaton issues could be sorted. Implementation wise OK lets see its usually a 20min setup to get the electrodes on the 'perps' head, then sit them into a shielded room, get them relaxed and get them to not move around too much as muscle movement artifact washes out EEG signals. Now put them through a few hundred trials of questions and answers so you get statistical validity, process a few GB of data and hey presto an answer. FWIW I hope it doesn't become a part of airport security routine checks ;)

Re: A new twist on an old idea...a beat up for fun (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099294)

but but, how can we afford to take the risk man!!! if we don't implement this at airports and in schools, well the blood is on YOUR hands!!!

who cares if it doesn't work, we need action!!! look at how much money we spent on this, no one could ever accuse us of not trying!!!

oh and lets not forget. if your against this tax payer funded dead end research, the terrorists win.

The good old days (4, Insightful)

Reginald2 (1859758) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099292)

Where you just racial profiled and tortured... oh wait this wouldn't replace that just be added on top of it.

Correlated with "Guilty Knowledge" (1)

Katchu (1036242) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099314)

Well, that should be a good way to screen for politicians, then.

Re:Correlated with "Guilty Knowledge" (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099596)

Well, that should be a good way to screen for politicians, then.

Most politicians are psychopaths, and hence you'd have to scan for someone who never feels guilty about anything.

I hope ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099342)

... they don't haul me in and question me about my plans for total world domination using this.

Terrorism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099346)

There is no terrorism(DOT!)

A related idea (1)

cacba (1831766) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099410)

Image Reconstruction from Brain Activity.

video [youtube.com] , article [cell.com]

Guilt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099428)

they were able to correlate P300 brain waves to guilty knowledge with 100 percent accuracy in the lab, said J. Peter Rosenfeld, a guilty Jew.

Err ... Uh ... Mmm ... Plagerism! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099462)

The Good Dr. J. Peter Rosenfeld is a Bo Vie Bo in NSF funding. Yet, our Bo Vie Bo, err ... uh ... mmm ... "borrows heavely" from other written works.

Ping Pong!

Plagerism!

Interestingly, Dr. J. Peter Rosenfeld has "contributed", meaning $$$, to NSF personnel and reviewer! Ah Ha! The "money", i.e. bank transaction numbers and ip+dns maps knows!

What a Loon this Dr. J. Peter Rosenfeld and the NSF Director (former) and personnel, and reviews who were on the take.

Great! ... Obama ... Distroyed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099502)

Given that even the government of Fiji knows that Barak Hussain Obama, Joe Biden and Robert Gates are terriorists, and the U.S. Governmnet is the biggest terrorist organization in existance, we just might be able to nullify the devilish plans of the perps Obama, Biden and Gates, not to forget the rasists in the US Congress.

Math failure (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099520)

"... were able to identify 10 out of 12 terrorists and, among them, 20 out of 30 crime- related details..."
" ...The test was 83 percent accurate in predicting concealed knowledge..."

Last time I checked, 10 out of 12, 20 out of 30, and 83% accurate prediction never adds up to 100% accuracy.

Also, those things never seem to work in the real world (as opposed to lab testing), especially since the terrorists and suspects you haven't arrested aren't usually hooked up to an electroencephalograph so you can conveniently check their brainwaves for suspicious activity.

Reading failure (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099564)

From TFA:

In the Northwestern study, when researchers knew in advance specifics of the planned attacks by the make-believe "terrorists," they were able to correlate P300 brain waves to guilty knowledge with 100 percent accuracy in the lab

"Without any prior knowledge of the planned crime in our mock terrorism scenarios, we were able to identify 10 out of 12 terrorists and, among them, 20 out of 30 crime- related details," Rosenfeld said. "The test was 83 percent accurate in predicting concealed knowledge, suggesting that our complex protocol could identify future terrorist activity.

Two different tests.

So, what about the satellite array? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099538)

Are these federally funded programs?

Wasting tax payer money reinventing technology already deployed in low earth orbit using ELF/SLF radio waves, is a gross waste in a recession.

Wait until the public learn about this!!!!!!

Re:So, what about the satellite array? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099582)

Heard about this too...fully fledged A.I. personality able to conduct interrogations inside a person's head.

Nasty shit. Heard they were experimenting in Northern Ireland with it too.

Re:So, what about the satellite array? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099614)

So, the Brits were trying to infiltrate the IRA with it?

Re:So, what about the satellite array? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099644)

Yep. Heard they hit an engineer with it. The guy figured out what it was and reverse engineered the entire platform.

Then he posted it all online!!!!!

Wait until he sues their assess...this shit is beyond illegal...a lot of intelligence guys are looking at long prison sentences.

Echelon is about to be dragged into the light of day.

I bet the regret trying to use him as a test dummy for their new platform.

Re:So, what about the satellite array? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099738)

I saw this too. Do a little search on synthetic telepathy, you'll find the guy.

Hint: 42 (Hitchhiker's)

Funny as hell. Blew them right out of the water. Intelligence agencies the world over must be pissing themselves with laughter. Can't wait until the shit hits the fan, especially with the investigations into torture in the UK.

Hope someone has told the PM.

how would this even work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099558)

i've been thinking about killing the president, hijacking a plane, killing American soldiers, and blowing up a bus full of people.

but then i thought that these attempts at killing the president [imdb.com] , hijacking a plane [imdb.com] , killing American soldiers [imdb.com] , and blowing up a bus full of people [imdb.com] have already been done so i need a new idea for my movie.

would this mind reading technology be able to decide between an actual act or a movie idea.

This is why all the real terrorists (1)

stalkedlongtime (1630997) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099610)

use Trauma Based Mind Control [wikipedia.org] to split off multiple personalities. Interrogate the terrorist all you want; you'll never get the information because the memories are hidden in another alter.

Stop this make-believe (1, Insightful)

Voulnet (1630793) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099618)

Stop this make-believe bullshit. The terrorists aren't out to get you every frakking second.
If you don't want terrorists to attack you, force your government to stop doing whatever you're doing that's provocating their minds everywhere around the world.
Perhaps start by stopping your video-game and rap music generation kids from wielding deadly weapons against people they don't understand in lands they don't belong to?

Re:Stop this make-believe (1)

stalkedlongtime (1630997) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099648)

Where's the money in that?

Whereas there's always money in war profiteering and the latest thing, security profiteering.

(Until the money runs out...)

Re:Stop this make-believe (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099852)

i suspect your one of those video game rap kiddies, otherwise you'd get that the situation isn't as simple as you make it out to be.

If the US pulled out of the middle east, are you really stupid enough to think terrorist organisations will just give up and go home? they'll simply find another way to justify attacking us, hate is so burned into those people they wouldn't ever accept a truce.

Imagine a world where... (1)

matunos (1587263) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099634)

shoddy police work and inaccurate results in the real world are overlooked by juries too eager to put their trust in "experts".

Oh wait, we already live in that world.

The funny thing is that most terrorists, once caught, seem to quickly admit guilt and cooperate to some extent. It's the ones you don't suspect, with a backpack of explosives, that we should be worried about, not the one already in the interrogation room.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099694)

Is this the last dying gasp of The Men Who Stare @ Goat Dept?

If so, does that make it about time, the networks gave David Lynch another crack at a TV series or let him at the Next Book in the Dune series?

Greekgeek. :-)

Accuse of everything, find guilt, pick favorite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099818)

How long have you been a racist...sexist...bigoted...music stealing(ding)...tax dodging...jay walking(ding)...affair having...nose picking...terrorist.

See? He's guilty. Must be a terrorist.

This study contradicts Rosenfeld's own research (4, Informative)

Cycon (11899) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099830)


This is really interesting as Rosenfeld himself has previously railed against other neuroscientists for commercializing P300 based lie detectors with claims of 100% accuracy:
Simple, effective countermeasures to P300-based tests of detection of concealed information - J. PETER ROSENFELD,a MATTHEW SOSKINS,a GREGORY BOSH,a and ANDREW RYAN [northwestern.edu]

"It seemed timely to investigate countermeasures to ERP-based tests also because although there have been many laboratory studies claiming 85-95% accuracy, only one field study has been published, but it reported approximately chance accuracy (Miyake, Mizutani, & Yamahura, 1993). Nevertheless, one user of these methods claims 100% accuracy and is presently attempting to commercialize them (see http://www.brainwavescience.com/ [brainwavescience.com] ). Finally, the ERP approach has now surfaced in popular novels, for example, Coonts (2003), as a foolproof method."

...

"It is noted that the subjects used by Farwell and Donchin were paid volunteers, including associates of the experimenters. Our presently reported study uses introductory psychology students as subjects, more like the subjects one might find in the field in the sense of relative lack of motivation to cooperate with operators, and perhaps lower intelligence."

The above is the original peer-reviewed paper, this review (also by Rosenfeld) below is more recent and concise:
http://www.srmhp.org/0401/brain-fingerprinting.html [srmhp.org]

Oh, I get it (1)

5pp000 (873881) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099850)

All we have to do is convince the terrorists to wear electrodes on their heads at all times, and we're golden.

Re:Oh, I get it (4, Funny)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099918)

Hello citizen! We have a new, improved headset for your iPod! It comes with this tiny scalp electrode. Make sure you wear it for best audio quality! And keep the WiFi connection active. It's almost like the new, improved cell phone we just issued, Make sure you always use that too. Good citizens always listen!

Wonderful. Another leg-up for psychopaths. (4, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#33099886)

Our complex, chaotic modern society is already a great environment for psychopaths. Now we're giving them another advantage, with these scanners, which psychopaths will always, under all circumstances, pass with flying colors.

(An interesting note from Wikipedia: Findings indicate psychopathic convicts have a 2.5 time higher probability of being released from jail than undiagnosed convicts, even though they are more likely to recidivate. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Wonderful. Another leg-up for psychopaths. (1)

melley (1868518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33099968)

Agree 100%, there will always be individuals who know how to beat these tests.

Lie detector tests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33099914)

I would like to point out that 100% accuracy in identifying guilty knowledge doesn't meant that there are no false positives. If I have 20 people, 10 of whom have guilty knowledge, and declare them all 'terrorists' I, too, have a 100% accuracy rate for identifying guilty knowledge.

Thoughts can be controlled? (1)

melley (1868518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33099930)

When I was 16 yrs. old, worked in a Rite Aid drugstore (east coast US chain), you had to sign a paper agreeing to take a lie detector test. One day, when we all had to report to work to do stock work, mgr. announced stuff was being stolen & we all had to take lie detector tests. There was this "old" guy who was probably 30, the head "stockboy" who had bragged about stuff he stole. My theft consisted of: I had shorted a cash draw a nickle & ate some candy from a broken bag. Also, I & many others were aware of this head stockboy bragging about his thefts. Yes, we were wrong for not reporting him to the mgr., but this was not going to be our career, working at rite aid, so a number of us decided not to report this guy as he was a bit threatening. We were all fired due to our lie detector test results, but guess who was not fired? Yeah, head stockboy, who also bragged that he knew how to beat the lie detector. As a result, I have no faith nor will ever be subjected to a lie detector test again. If I were a juror & lie detector tests were allowed in US courts, I would ignore the results.

horribly ineffective and beatable (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 3 years ago | (#33099970)

Why are they working on a technology that we already have the means to beat? This is what people call a one sided, correlation based conclusion system. Like for example take a read-only look at my Google searches and make a correlation to info about me. Chances are, you're wrong but you'll think you're right. You're gonna be wrong because it's not a 100% guaranteed matchup. It's merely a likelihood via the most probable cause of the search that someone can come up with. Like if I searched for "New York Monkey Ownership" then I must want to own a monkey and I live in New York. It seems like an obvious correlation based on what seems the most likely but is my brain directly hooked into Google? Not yet lol. So at best, they're guessing. Maybe my friend wants to own a monkey or I saw someone on TV and wanted to know if it was even legal for them to own one in New York.
So back to the brain, oh look, my memory center just lit up. That means the memory I'm describing is true because the making crap up part of my brain isn't lit up. WRONG! I memorized and am recalling a movie I watched a dozen times where that exact thing happened but it didn't happen in real life, thus faking legitimate activity in that area of my brain. Or they think I robbed a bank and tell me they found solid evidence linking me to it and my threat centers of the brain aren't reacting at all. I guess I'm innocent, right? Not if I brainwashed myself to think that I have an important mission in jail so getting caught is what I wanted all along so it's good that they're catching me. If you or someone else tells you something enough times, you'll believe it.
Pretending that reading someone's brain activity based on activity by location is going to tell you exactly what they're thinking is idiotic. It's circumstantial evidence at best and still just a one way, correlation based system. Worry area lighting up = he's worried is NOT solid proof that he's thinking about what someone is saying and is actually worried. Maybe he just purposely remembered at that time that he forgot to pay his cable bill and is worried and doesn't care about what you said. The people using this technology still have NO IDEA what the person is really thinking and a little training makes it soooooo fakeable. This is even worse than the utter nonsense that a polygraph machine is because people will respect it more. It sounds fancier and harder to beat but that is in fact not remotely the case.
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