On your brain and privacy

On Your Brain and Privacy

Team Neurable
Knowledge

Neurable is in the business of helping people understand themselves.

To this end, we’ve spent the better part of a decade developing neurotechnology that makes a meaningful difference in everyday life. The first of these products, Enten helps users understand and improve their work habits.

Much like a fitness tracker, Enten measures changes in the body to generate useful insights into your daily life. Unlike fitness trackers, however, our product focuses on the brain and, as such, tends to inspire a unique set of questions and concerns. Often, these concerns include references to fictional mind reading, as in Black Mirror or the Matrix. Suffice it to say, science has not caught up with these fictions. 

Plus, even if mind reading were possible, that doesn’t necessarily make it desirable.

At Neurable, we’re of the opinion that your thoughts, whether brilliant or bizarre, belong exclusively to you.

Advances in neurotechnology shouldn’t change this basic right to mental privacy.

To better understand the difference between fictional mind reading and real-world tech, it may help to understand the basics of how our device works. 

Neurable’s headphones use electroencephalography (EEG), a technology that detects electrical changes in the brain. This technique is similar to electrocardiography (EKG), which tracks electrical changes in your heart. In both instances, these dynamics are used to figure out how the organ is performing. Since the brain is more complicated than the heart, its electrical data tends to be a bit more interesting.

Every time a brain cell fires, its electrical properties fluctuate. When many cells fire at the same time, EEG sensors on the scalp can detect this change.

Enten uses unique algorithms to transform electrical data into insights about your mental state (e.g., whether you’re distracted or focused).

Still, no amount of algorithmic acrobatics can transform EEG data into a transcript of your internal monologue. 

Neurable’s commitment to your privacy​​

Though Neurable’s headphones can't read your mind, we nonetheless recognize that brain activity is sensitive data, warranting the utmost protection.

As such, we’ve established several procedures to ensure data privacy and security for our users.

1. At every stage of the product journey–from R&D through fulfillment–user data is handled by a team of scientists and technical staff trained in data security protocols. And even this elite team doesn’t see identifying information about users. All data is anonymized from the get-go–meaning, information about your brain activity never appears alongside details that might give away who you are.

2. We’ve also taken measures to safeguard sensitive information against security breaches from the outside. Before data is stored in the cloud, a computer program translates it into an illegible scramble of numbers and letters, a process called cloud encryption that makes it very difficult for bad guys to hack into our system.

3. Finally, we believe that one of the best ways to protect users and their data is to clearly explain the type of information that we collect and what can be done with it. Since your data belongs to you, you’re always free to use this information in whatever way you like. However, we also want to make sure you have a solid understanding of what it might mean to share your brain data, whether with a friend or a third party app.

To this end, we are working on product features that educate users about the meaning of brain data and data ownership.

Though it’s impossible to decode thoughts from brain activity with our technology, especially since it’s non-invasive, your EEG data is nonetheless special, sensitive, and exclusively yours.

We promise to keep it that way.


Author(s)
Team Neurable
In: KnowledgeDecember 6, 2021