Airport Lie Detectors
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A recent report on Yahoo (and in sections of the British press) mentions a
walk-through airport lie detector being developed in Israel by the company
The software apparently relies on picking up ''uncontrollable tremors'' in
the voice to 'identify' liars.
The system would seem to be very unreliable in principle, given that a
speaker with an inherently creaky voice will show a great deal of random
variation in vocal fold vibrations (jitter). A slight cold, some voice
pathologies, and low pitch accompanied by creak at the end of an utterance
would also produce jitter. Older speakers, and those suffering from e.g.
Parkinson's disease, would also produce more jitter.
Is anyone aware of the background to this research and testing of its accuracy?
It seems some governments are willing to spend between £6,000 and £17,000
per unit on this system in the light of security concerns, but my fear is
that it is money wasted, and the introduction of this system may lead to a
number of innacurate identifications of 'liars' at airport check-ins.
I will post a summary of responses.
Mark J. Jones
British Academy Post-doctoral Research Fellow
Department of Linguistics
University of Cambridge
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