Colorado Bill Aims to Protect Consumer Brain Data


Colorado Enacts New Law to Safeguard Consumer Brain Data

**Consumers** are increasingly aware of the collection and potential resale of their personal data by digital services and apps. The emergence of consumer neurotechnologies has led to the gathering of even more intimate data, such as brain activity monitoring, anxiety treatment, and brain signal interpretation in the context of dating apps. On Wednesday, Governor Jared Polis of Colorado signed a bill expanding the definition of “sensitive data” to include biological and “neural data” generated by the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system.

Quick Facts

  • Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a bill expanding the definition of “sensitive data” to include biological and “neural data”.
  • The law aims to protect consumer-level brain technologies, requiring companies to respect consumers’ rights to access, delete, and correct their data, as well as opt out of the sale or use of data for targeted advertising.
  • The neurotechnology industry is rapidly expanding, with major tech companies like Meta, Apple, and Snapchat becoming involved.

The new law targets consumer-level brain technologies that have largely evaded regulation, allowing companies to harvest highly sensitive brain data and share or sell it to third parties. It grants consumers the right to control the use and sharing of their data and imposes strict regulations on companies’ handling of such data. Moreover, it extends the same protections granted to biometric data to biological and neural data, such as access, deletion, correction, and opt-out rights.

Neurotechnology investments rose about 60 percent globally from 2019 to 2020, amounting to about $30 billion in 2021. This increase in investments is attributed to the involvement of major tech companies like Meta, Apple, and Snapchat. The industry garnered attention when Elon Musk announced a brain-computer interface manufactured by Neuralink had been successfully implanted in a person for the first time, enabling the patient to control a mouse solely with his thoughts and play online chess.

While some brain technologies have led to breakthrough treatments, concerns about the potential misuse of neural data have prompted the enactment of the Colorado bill. The bill lays the foundation for potential federal legislation and hopes to set a precedent for other states to follow.


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