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Researchers Find 'Mind-Control' Gaming Headsets Can Leak Users' Secrets 107

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-whatever-you-do,-don't-touch-the-reverse-button dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "At the Usenix security conference in Seattle last week, a group of researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, Oxford University and the University of Geneva presented a study that hints at the darker side of a future where we control computers with our minds rather than a mouse. In a study of 28 subjects wearing brain-machine interface headsets built by companies like Neurosky and Emotiv and marketed to consumers for gaming and attention exercises, the researchers found they were able to extract hints directly from the electrical signals of the test subjects' brains that partially revealed private information like the location of their homes, faces they recognized and even sequences of numbers they recognized. For the moment, the experimental theft of users' private information from brain signals is more science fiction than a real security vulnerability, since it requires tricking the victim into thinking about the target information at a certain time, and still doesn't work reliably. (Though much better than random chance.) But as BMI gets more sophisticated and mainstream, the researchers say their study should serve as a warning about privacy issues around the technology of such interfaces."
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Researchers Find 'Mind-Control' Gaming Headsets Can Leak Users' Secrets

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  • by QilessQi (2044624) on Friday August 17, 2012 @09:47AM (#41022989)

    ...people voluntarily reveal private information like the location of their homes, what they had for breakfast, favorite sexual positions, etc.

  • by illaqueate (416118) on Friday August 17, 2012 @09:56AM (#41023093)

    This is another one of those cases where the authors want to write about a science fiction scenario that doesn't exist like direct neural input so they do an EEG study that in no way resembles the scenario they are imagining. EEG is terrible for extracting information so there's not much to worry about.

  • by Loughla (2531696) on Friday August 17, 2012 @09:59AM (#41023129)
    I'm not certain why this is modded funny instead of insightful. We have been programmed by popular media and life in general to devalue privacy.

    We've been taught that the only people who need privacy are terrorists or pedophiles.

    So, why would anyone need to go through the trouble of reading our minds when we've been pretty well conditioned to just hand out our personal identifiers without thought?

    It seems to me that if I need to know where you live, what your passwords are, and what you had for breakfast, I just make a NEW AND IMPROVED SUPER FUN SOCIAL MEDIA POWERED GAME!!!

  • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Friday August 17, 2012 @10:01AM (#41023139) Journal
    Technology-enabled telepathy is actually what I call cellphones today : you hold a talisman, another talisman rings and transmits speech. Just implant it if you want, but the magic is already done.
  • by N0Man74 (1620447) on Friday August 17, 2012 @10:56AM (#41023849)

    Technology-enabled telepathy is actually what I call cellphones today : you hold a talisman, another talisman rings and transmits speech. Just implant it if you want, but the magic is already done.

    You misunderstand the meaning of the word. Telepathy is transference of thought or experience. It isn't simply the transfer of voice, words, or even expression of ideas. The roots would be "tele" and "pathe", which would translate as "distant" and "experience" respectively. For your cell phone, I think "distant voice" would be far more accurate, or "telephone"...

    Though, smart phones with cameras might also fall under "distant sight", or... "television".

I use technology in order to hate it more properly. -- Nam June Paik

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