While 72% of consumers surveyed are excited by devices that can read brainwaves, survey points to significant concerns about how tech giants may use that data
BROOKLYN, NY — March 10, 2021 — OpenBCI, a Brooklyn-based neurotechnology company, today announced the release of the survey report “Closing The Loop: Delivering on the promise of BCI while protecting brain privacy,” which delves into brain-computer interface technology, biometrics and consumer data concerns. The report found both acute interest in the power of such technology to improve physical and mental health, along with concerns about data and privacy.
Examples of key findings about biometrics include:
- 85% of respondents use devices that leverage biometrics (fingerprints, face recognition, etc) for security, and 53% feel more secure using biometrics than traditional type-in passwords.
- People are extremely interested in devices that use biometrics to create new device experiences, or improve mental or physical health. When asked, “Would you be more or less likely to use a device that specifically used your biological signals to improve device performance or improve your mental or physical health?” 69% reported being more likely to use.
- Along with interest comes some concern. When asked, “How concerned are you about your electronic devices reading your biometric signals?” 17% reported being extremely concerned, and 72% reported being concerned (total).
- Even more than biometrics, people are interested in using devices that use brainwaves to improve mental or physical health. 73% reported interest in such devices.
“This survey shows us that while people are interested in the potential for biometric and brainwave technologies to improve their lives, they are rightly concerned about that data being misused, or falling into the wrong hands,” said Conor Russomanno, CEO and founder of OpenBCI. “At OpenBCI, we’re deeply committed to ethical innovation so that discoveries are made with the utmost care for safety and privacy. It’s the job of all of us who are in this field to work together to protect people’s biometric data. Ultimately it’s our firm belief that democratization of this technology, and allowing the user to understand and control their brainwave data, will provide a safe and innovative future.”
Examples of key findings about brainwave technology include:
- Consumer interest in BCI technology doesn’t come without concerns as well. When asked, “How concerned are you about your electronic devices reading brainwaves?” survey participants responded:
- 25% extremely concerned
- 81% concerned (total)
- 19% not concerned
- When asked to rank their concerns about consumer companies and devices having access to thoughts and emotions, respondents ranked selling their data as a top concern, followed by the possibility of hacks.
Findings related to specific companies and access to consumer biometric data:
When asked to rank their concern related to specific companies having access to their biometric data, respondents reported being most concerned about Facebook.
- 50% of respondents reported being extremely concerned about Facebook having access to such data, followed by 40% being extremely concerned about Google.
- Concern dropped off when asked about their government, insurance provider and doctor having access to such data.
- 33% of respondents reported being extremely concerned about their government having access to biometric data
- 22% reported being extremely concerned about insurance
- 10% reported being extremely concerned about their doctor
Similarly, when asked to rank their concern related to specific companies accessing brainwaves, respondents reported being most concerned about Facebook.
- 46% reported being extremely concerned about Facebook
- A roughly equal percentage of respondents (around 37-38%) reported being extremely concerned about Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple and their government having access to such data
Findings from the report “Closing The Loop: Delivering on the promise of BCI while protecting brain privacy” are presented in full here.
Methodology: Results are based on a survey of 650 respondents based in the United States.
OpenBCI has been creating open-source tools for biosensing and neuroscience since 2014. OpenBCI’s mission is to lower the barrier to entry for human-computer interface technologies, while ensuring that these technologies are adopted into the consumer landscape in an ethical way that protects user agency and mental health. Based in Brooklyn, NY, the company’s hardware and software products enable a global community of scientists, designers, artists, and engineers to further our understanding of the human body and mind. For more information about OpenBCI, visit https://openbci.com.
Clarity PR, for OpenBCI