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OECD publishes report into the use of neurotechnology

Wednesday 11 December 2019

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has published a “Recommendation on Responsible Innovation in Neurotechnology”, which, for the first time, sets out international standards in this domain. It aims to guide governments and innovators to anticipate and address the ethical, legal and social challenges raised by novel neurotechnologies while promoting innovation in the field. The report notes that such governance issues surrounding neurotechnology have implication throughout the duration of the innovation process, from fundamental brain research, cognitive neuroscience, and other brain-inspired sciences through to questions of commercialisation and marketing. The document specifically addresses issues such as (brain) data privacy, the prospects of human enhancement, the regulation and marketing of direct-to-consumer devices, the vulnerability of cognitive patterns for commercial or political manipulation, and further inequalities in use and access.

The Recommendation embodies nine principles, which focus on:

  • Promoting responsible innovation
  • Prioritising safety assessment
  • Promoting inclusivity
  • Fostering scientific collaboration
  • Enabling societal deliberation
  • Enabling capacity of oversight and advisory bodies
  • Safeguarding personal brain data and other information
  • Promoting cultures of stewardship and trust across the public and private sector
  • Anticipating and monitoring potential unintended use and/or misuse.

The full text of the recommendations can be found at: https://legalinstruments.oecd.org/en/instruments/OECD-LEGAL-0457

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