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Brain Fingerprinting

  • IASbaba
  • November 27, 2020
  • 0
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology.

Brain Fingerprinting

Context: A team of CBI officers probing the alleged rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit girl in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, arrived at the Gandhinagar-based Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) with the four accused. A brain electrical oscillation signature profiling (BEOSP) test will be conducted on all four

What exactly is the BEOSP test?

  • Brain Electrical Oscillation Signature Profiling (BEOSP) also known as brain fingerprinting is a neuro psychological method of interrogation in which the accused’s participation in the crime is investigated by studying their brain’s response. 
  • The BEOSP test is carried out via a process known as electroencephalogram, conducted to study the electrical behaviour of the human brain.
  • Under this test, the consent of the accused is first taken and they are then made to wear caps with dozens of electrodes attached to them. 
  • The accused are then shown visuals or played audio clips related to the crime to check if there is any triggering of neurons in their brains which then generate brainwaves. 
  • The test results are then studied to determine the participation of the accused in a crime
  • To be fair to the accused, forensic experts also prepare probes on the basis of their alibis and then present two hypothesis in front of them to invoke their brain’s reaction. 
  • The tests are based on the phenomenons of ‘knowledge’ and ‘experience’. A person’s brain might have knowledge of the crime committed and the alibi they have come up with. But it is the ‘experience’ of having participated in the crime that determines their guilt.

What differentiates a BEOSP test from a polygraph or a lie detector?

  • The BEOSP procedure does not involve a question answer session with the accused and is rather a neuro psychological study of their brain. 
  • In a polygraph test, the accused person’s physiological indicators are taken into account which include blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration and skin conductivity. 
  • However, experts say that while a person might be able to control their pulse rate and BP even in times of distress, a BEOSP test offers a much more credible result.

Why were the accused brought to Gandhinagar FSL?

  • Founded in 1974, the Gujarat state FSL in Gandhinagar is India’s premier laboratory for forensic sciences and technical investigation. 
  • The FSL has a total of 1100 staff and offers varied services including suspect detection system, computer forensics, narco analysis as well as an accredited ‘cow meat’ testing mobile laboratory.
  • Other states refer their cases here because of the latest cutting edge technological advancements in the laboratory along with sufficient expertise of the staff which are to the international standards
  • Among the high-profile cases that were studies by Gujarat FSL were the Nithari serial killings, the Aarushi murder case, the Godhra train burning case, the Shakti Mill gangrape case and the on-going Narcotics Control Bureau case involving Bollywood.

Can these tests be admitted as evidence?

  • Not as a standalone. 
  • In 2010, the Supreme Court passed a judgment in the Selvi versus State of Karnataka case where the bench observed that narco analysis, polygraph and brain mapping tests cannot be forced upon any individual without their consent and the test results cannot be admitted solely as evidence. 
  • However, any information or material discovered during the tests can be made part of the evidence, observed the bench.

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