Neurodata Protection in Chile
The NeuroRights Initiative is working with the Senate of the Republic of Chile, the Chilean Minister of Science and the Catholic University (Pontificia Universidad Católica: PUC) to pioneer a NeuroData protection agenda. These efforts are coordinated by the Commission of the Future of the Senate, an office led by Senator Guido Girardi, which focuses on introducing legislation addressing advances in medicine and science.
On October 7th, 2020, the Chilean congress made history in the world of Neurotechnology. It presented an amendment to the Constitution that defines mental identity, for the first time in history, as a right that cannot be manipulated. Second, the congress presented a bill that includes the five fundamental principles stem from the work of the Morningside Group, created in 2019 by Dr. Rafael Yuste, founder of the NeuroRights Initiative, and consists of 25 international neuroscientists, lawyers, and ethicists.
While the Chilean Congress was unable to hold the event in person, due to the current circumstances, scientists, politicians, and members of the private sector came together online. The attendees included the president of the Future Challenges Commission of the Chilean Senate; Senator Guido Girardi, the president of the Chilean Academy of Sciences, Cecilia Hidalgo; the President of the University of Chile, Ennio Vivaldi; the President of the Catholic University, Ignacio Sánchez; the Secretary of State for Digitalization and AI of Spain, Carmen Artigas; the Director of Investigation of IBM, Darío Gil; the resident of the Interparliamentary Union, Gabriela Cuevas, and the lawyer Ciro Colombara.
If approved, the Chilean Constitution will become the pioneer country in protecting the human mind, setting a precedent for other countries across the globe. For the NeuroRights Initiative, the events of this past October 7th, 2020, mark a pivotal moment in the field of neuroethics.
Actions in Chile
On October 7th, 2020, the Chilean congress presented an amendment to the Constitution that defines mental identity, for the first time in history, as a right that cannot be manipulated. Additionally, the amendment states that any mental intervention, including medical therapies, must be legally regulated.
On October 7th, 2020, the Chilean congress also presented a bill that includes five fundamental principles: the right to personal identity, free will, mental privacy, equitable access to technologies that augment human capacities, and the right to protection against bias and discrimination. These five principles stem from the work of the Morningside Group, created in 2019 by Dr. Rafael Yuste, founder of the NeuroRights Initiative, and consists of 25 international neuroscientists, lawyers, and ethicists.
This new bill (“Proyecto de Ley”) on NeuroProtection defines all data obtained from the brain as “NeuroData” and applies to them the existing legislation on organ donations, outlawing the commerce of NeuroData. It also applies medical legislation to the future use and development of Neurotechnology.
A deontological set of ethical guidelines is being drafted by a group at the Catholic University for the computer, AI and neuroengineering industries. The Catholic University is studying instituting this code into their Engineering School curriculum at the undergraduate and graduate level.
A vigorous outreach campaign has taken place in the media, universities, private sector and governmental organizations. This culminated with a meeting on October 3rd, 2019 at the Presidential Palace between Science Minister Couve, President Piñera, Professor Yuste, and Senator Giradi, where the Chilean Government agreed to provide official backing for the NeuroProtection agenda.