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NSA spying, Snowden and SmartMind Research: Spying on Americans 101

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Surveillance of American citizens by their own government might have become a topic of conversation and focus after Edward Snowden blew a whistle on the covert activities, but no one but Fox News seems to have noticed that a NeuroSky Store offers up other ways to tinker with people's minds, according to their Jan. 21 report.

The NSA might be guilty of looking at your phone records and Internet activity, which the LA Times says the public is largely ignoring, but NeuroSky is messing with your brain waves--with your knowledge. And Fox thinks it might cause you to need a psychologist as a result.

According to Fox, futuristic tools already on the market will likely grow in demand so much that they will prompt the creation of new and unusual jobs. And one of those might be the need for a VR psychologist, to help people deal with the new virtual reality worlds they enter.

NeuroSky's SmartMind Researcher's Kit seems to support that possibility, as it offers users the opportunity (for free in a trial version) to learn how to control their own brainwaves. And you can get it now, as there is no need to wait for 2025, like with some futuristic tools.

Controlling your own brainwaves is heady stuff. Psychiatrists don't even do that, and they have a medical degree. So just how safe can it be for the average person to attempt it? And why should Joe Citizen trust some tech company on the other end of the tool to be the one to tell them what the test results are--or to guide the user in how to control their brainwaves?

A recent Pew Poll shows that "the public has grown more disproving of the NSA's surveillance program as a result" of Edward Snowden's disclosures, so shouldn't the same public also be made aware that there are many more entities trying to learn what they think (and in more subtle ways) than big brother?

NeuroSky is but one of them. And their products aren't on the horizon; they're already here. And they say they are already being used in education, entertainment, as well as in health and wellness fields. And while some brain monitoring is important, like during brain surgery or during a hospital medical test, there are still other times when monitoring someone's brainwaves is nothing more than a way for someone else to get inside your head.

Personal Neuro's Transcend Meditation is an example, and it requires the use of a NeuroSky MindWave Mobile Headset, sold on the iTunes App Store. This application promises to track your mental meditation progress by monitoring your brainwaves. They also promise to "guide" you into what they believe will be better meditative states or options for you based upon what your brainwaves tell them.

If letting big brother listen in on your phone or have access to your Internet data and history concerns you, then letting someone tell you whether or not your brainwaves are working properly--and prescribing a course of action as a result (when they aren't a medical professional)--should concern you even more.

Atlanta Top News Examiner has a degree in criminal justice and behavioral forensics.

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