Brain Fingerprinting: An Emerging Crime Fighting Tool

Brain Fingerprinting: An Emerging Crime Fighting Tool

The advent of information age pictures countless technological development and opens a lot of possibilities for the advancement of human conditions. Numerous products in the market suggest an unending array of innovation. In manufacturing and servicing, a lot of products from around the globe are sold and availed from different parts of the world. Take for example managed IT services Australia products and Microsoft Office 365, they are offered and produced from extreme opposite parts of the earth but are available worldwide. In governance especially in Australia, retired detective Charlie Bezzina suggested that using hi-tech brain fingerprinting, which was developed in cooperation with the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States, could revolutionise Australian crime fighting.

According to the Encyclopedia of Forensic Science 2014, Electroencephalography (EEG) is being used in a forensic science technique dubbed as Brain Fingerprinting that determines whether or not a specific information is within the subject’s brain by measuring electrical brainwaves and recording responses of the brain named P300-MERMER or Memory and Encoding Related Multi-faceted Electroencephaglographic Response; as reaction to the phrases, words or pictures that are being showed to the subject.

According to its history, Lawrence Farwell invented Brain fingerprinting. The idea is that, the brain processes relevant and known data differently from the method it processes irrelevant or unknown information (Farwell and Donchi: 1991). According to the works published by Farwell and Smith in 2001 and Farwell in 1994, the brain’s method of processing known data, such as details of an event that is stored inside the brain, is disclosed by a specific pattern in the electroencephalograph (EEG). There are certain court rulings that ruled brain fingerprinting as admissible in court; such for instance the Harrington v. State in 2001. And brain fingerprinting has also been applied in some of high profile criminal cases bringing serial killers to justice. These are exemplified in Terry Harrington and J. B. Grinder landmark cases. Yes, brain fingerprinting tool will surely help in fighting crimes throughout the regions around the world.

We can categorize brain finger printing in two primary applications. One, it detects records of terrorist acts, crimes, or incidents being stored in the brain; and two, it can detect specific kind of expertise, training or knowledge, such as bomb makers, trained terrorists or police agents. Dr. Farwell and Emmanuel Donchin’s seminal paper described triumphant application of the technique in detecting stored brain knowledge of both real life events and mock crimes, sans false positives and false negatives. There are also collaborative studies between Dr. Farwell and the Federal Bureau of Investigation with its in-house scientist Drew Richardson, former FBI’s chem-bio-nuclear counterterrorism unit chief. According to the works of Dale in 2001, the CIA also funded Farwell’s research, which uses brain fingerprinting in the United States Navy to detect whether or not these military personnel have undergone medical training. The result correctly detailed the specific information of the thirty (30) subjects.

Brain fingerprinting as a technique has widely been criticised by several fronts and among scientists. However, independent scientists who are said to have used similar procedure as Farwell’s brain fingerprinting claimed to get the same and highly accurate results which proves that this IT development is useful to humanity.

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