I have been looking through the relevant legal doctrines of both the US and UK to determine the legality of using, or deploying, Synthetic Telepathy. First and foremost, no legislation exists permitting the use of such technology, or outlining the respective rights of individuals targeted by such technology.
As such, constraints must be found in the respective nation's criminal codes and indeed they do exist. Interpretations of the terrorism related acts of both the US and UK clearly prohibit the technology. As basic criminal doctrine is that "all men are equal before the law", criminal acts conducted whilst in the service of the state are no different to any other form of criminal act.
In US law, 2332a. Use of weapons of mass destruction, reads as follows:
(b) Offense by National of the United States Outside of the United States.— Any national of the United States who, without lawful authority, uses, or threatens, attempts, or conspires to use, a weapon of mass destruction outside of the United States shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, and if death results, shall be punished by death, or by imprisonment for any term of years or for life.
(c) Definitions.— For purposes of this section—
(2) the term “weapon of mass destruction” means—
(A) any destructive device as defined in section 921 of this title;
(B) any weapon that is designed or intended to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals, or their precursors;
(C) any weapon involving a biological agent, toxin, or vector (as those terms are defined in section 178 of this title); or
(D) any weapon that is designed to release radiation or radioactivity at a level dangerous to human life”
The relevant clause is 2(D). A Synthetic Telepathy system, of a similar design outlined in my previous article, would violate this clause. As a device that emits radiation, at a level able to generate sensory and muscular control, that could prove dangerous to human life (i.e. in terms of heart failure, distraction, long term stress damage) , it is illegal to "use", "conspire to use" , "attempt to use" or even "threaten to use" such a device. That applies to the use of the technology against both US citizens and foreign nationals. The important part to note is that there is no restriction on "how" that level of radiation is dangerous to human life, only that it is.
It is interesting to note that the death penalty exists in cases of fatalities.
In the UK, the Terrorism Act 2000 reads as follows:
(1) In this Act “terrorism” means the use or threat of action where—
(a) the action falls within subsection (2),
(b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and
(c) the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.
(2) Action falls within this subsection if it—
(a) involves serious violence against a person,
(b) involves serious damage to property,
(c) endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action,
(d) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or
(e) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.
In UK law, three elements need to be demonstrated, that is, 1(ab)(b) and (c) must be shown to be true.
For part 1(a), the relevant clause is 2(c), for the reasons stated above. Again, this act does not define "how" a person's life is endangered, only that it is. That could be anything from driving a car in a distracted state, to causing stress that could lead to heart failure.
For part 1(b), this is automatic in that the basic function of an "interrogator in a box" is intimidation and that a target represents a "section of the public" by various definitions. That "section" could be a particular community, group, or by the virtue of just being part of a group being interrogated.
Finally, for part 1(c), without specific legislation to use such technology, the deployment would have been driven by a National Security agenda. As this is derived from the political and ideological positions of "In Defense Of The Nation", or "In Defense Of The Realm", it is squarely aimed at "furthering" those causes.
Most of the offences are listed under "Terrorist Property" of Part 3 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
Furthermore, it is an offence not to report such incidents:
9 Disclosure of information: duty
(1) This section applies where a person—
(a) believes or suspects that another person has committed an offence under any of sections 15 to 18, and
(b) bases his belief or suspicion on information which comes to his attention in the course of a trade, profession, business or employment.
(2) The person commits an offence if he does not disclose to a constable as soon as is reasonably practicable—
(a) his belief or suspicion, and
(b) the information on which it is based.
Whilst many groups call for specific legislation against these forms of technology, it is clear that existing criminal codes and acts are sufficient within both the UK and US. The interpretations are straight forward and fall well within the intentions of the acts. Also, this is only two variations of terrorism laws and a wide range of other laws, with both criminal and civil liabilities, could be violated by such technology. Human rights legislation being a prime example.
International law is a little more complex and will not be discussed here. Although, one small point will be made in regards to the Outer Space Treaty, in that, any satellite technology may breach the treaty by being defined as a "weapon of mass destruction".
If such deployments have occurred in secret by the US/UK, then we can only guess as to the secretive response of the Russian Federation or China. As such, space may be far more heavily militarized than anyone suspects.