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Neuro Data Rights project

Back to the main Open Thought Space

Contact m@melanieswan.com



  • Introduction and Aim
  • Concept Definition and Topics
  • Practicalities and Technicalities
  • Current State of Technology
  • Biggest Potential Fears
  • Biggest Potential Benefits
  • Project Structure
  • Other


Introduction and Aim  

An increasing number of new personalized data streams are being generated through biosensors, wireless Internet-of-things devices, consumer EEGs, the burgeoning Quantified Self movement, health social network data, and social media data. The aim of the Neuro Data Rights project is to investigate and set the tone for how issues regarding these new data streams can be problematicized to support and facilitate humanity's future directions in a mature and empowering way.


Concept Definition and Topics

  • Data streams: Personal neuro data streams (consumer EEG, fMRI, PPG), personal eye-tracking data, biometric data streams from objective metric sensor devices, social media data streams
  • Changing definitions of personal and personal data
    • Extended self and exosenses (through mobile phone, smartwatch, augmented reality glasses (e.g.; Google Glass project & expected knock-offs, wearable electronics, biosensors)
  • Neuro data: quantified self, neuroethics, neurodiversity, neuroexpression, neurocommunications
  • Data related issues: standards, formats, transmission, privacy, security, sharing, permissioning, ownership, storage, access, economics, business models



  • Primer of other personal data security/privacy models
    • Genomic data, Medical data, Census data, Financial data
  • Different responses of different countries or groups (including selective adoption, limited adoption, evaluation-based adoption)

Identify Different Potential Approaches to Neuro Data Rights

  • Rights/responsibilities model rather than personal ownership model
  • Access rather than ownership model


Practicalities and Technicalities

  • Personal Faraday cages given the potential rapid progress of electromagnetic spectrum detection


Current State of Technology


What are the Key Questions to Address? 

  • How should I think about what my neuro privacy rights should be?




Project Structure

  • Phase I
    •  Article exposing the relevant issues, collaboration: Greg McMullen, Melanie Swan 
  • Phase II
    • Book anthology, Greg McMullen, Melanie Swan, editors. Curated essay collection from topical thought-leaders. Potential contributors: Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross, Stu Card, Trent McConaghy,
    • IEEE Standards Working Group
    • Conference
    • Meetup groups
    • Policy fellowship


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