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I Will Control Your Mind: The International Regulation of Brain-Hacking

I Will Control Your Mind: The International Regulation of Brain-Hacking


Today, we're discussing neurotechnology and its potential impact on our lives. We'll be exploring the legal and ethical implications of brain-hacking, a concept that sounds straight out of a sci-fi movie but is closer to reality than you might think.

Introduction: The Rise of Neurotechnology

Neurotechnology, which involves devices and procedures used to access, monitor, and manipulate the neural systems of individuals, is on the rise. From brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) aiding paralyzed individuals to brain stimulation techniques alleviating conditions like depression and chronic pain, the potential applications are vast.

The Dark Side: Brain-Hacking

However, as with any technological advancement, there's a dark side to neurotechnology. Recent studies have suggested that these neural devices could be vulnerable to hacking, leading to potential consequences such as the leaking of sensitive information, inducing pain, or even remotely controlling someone's actions.

The Legal Conundrum

Now, here's where things get really interesting. The idea of brain-hacking raises significant security and privacy concerns, but how does it fare in the eyes of the law? The potential scenarios of brain-hacking, including reading thoughts, controlling someone remotely, and inflicting pain or death, are assessed for their compliance with international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

The Ethical Dilemma

Imagine a world where your thoughts could be read without consent, or where someone could control your actions from a distance. It's a chilling thought, and it's not just the stuff of fiction. As neurotechnology advances, the ethical implications of its potential misuse become increasingly pressing. Brain-computer interfaces, for example, operate in a 4-phase cycle, and each phase presents a potential vulnerability to hacking. Similarly, brain stimulators could be manipulated to induce pain, influence emotions, or alter movements, raising serious ethical and security concerns.

Conclusion: Navigating the Future

As we stand on the cusp of a future where neurotechnology could become an integral part of our lives, it's crucial to address the legal and ethical challenges it presents. Balancing the potential benefits of these technologies with the need to safeguard individual rights and privacy will be a complex but necessary endeavor.

The world of neurotechnology is a fascinating yet complex one, with implications that extend far beyond the realm of science. As we continue to push the boundaries of what's possible, it's essential to tread carefully and consider the broader impact of these advancements on society as a whole.

Citation: Thibault Moulin, “‘I Will Control Your Mind’: The International Regulation of Brain-Hacking,” San Diego International Law Journal 24 (2023 2022): 65,


  • Neurotechnology: Neurotechnology refers to the field involving devices and procedures used to access, monitor, and manipulate the neural systems of individuals. It encompasses technologies such as brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) and brain stimulation techniques.

  • Neural devices: Neural devices are technological tools designed to interact with the neural systems of individuals, such as brain-computer interfaces and brain stimulators.

  • International human rights law: International human rights law consists of legal principles and norms that are internationally recognized and protect the rights and dignity of individuals, including in the context of emerging technologies like neurotechnology.

  • International humanitarian law: International humanitarian law comprises legal regulations and standards that govern the conduct of armed conflict and seek to protect individuals who are not or are no longer participating in hostilities, which may intersect with issues related to neurotechnology and brain-hacking.