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Lie Detectors to be Used for Airline Security 504

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the obviously-a-machine-knows dept.
swimgeek writes "A new walk-through airport lie detector being made in Israel may prove to be the toughest challenge yet for potential hijackers or drugs smugglers. The product has been tested in Russia and should be commercialized soon. The software in the detector picks up uncontrollable tremors in the voice that give away liars or those with something to hide, say its designers. Passengers that fail the test are then required to undergo further questioning or even search."
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Lie Detectors to be Used for Airline Security

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  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:04PM (#14058651) Journal
    No, you still can't detect lies with an MRI. You can observe brain activity which may or may not correlate to deception, which will differ greatly for each individual you examine.

    To actually detect lies, you have to know everything the person making a statement knows, and then you still don't know if he's lying or just misinformed.

    -jcr

  • Re:Oh goodie (Score:2, Informative)

    by N3Roaster (888781) <nealwNO@SPAMacm.org> on Thursday November 17, 2005 @09:28PM (#14058860) Homepage Journal
    I do a fair amount of flying and, to be honest, I'm not seeing insanely tight airport security on a routine basis in the United States. So maybe now instead of being delayed in the customs line while I'm trying to get to my connecting flight I get a quick interview with a national guard officer or a short random search (a look through my laptop bag and a wave of the metal detector) before boarding. The added security is not being applied consistently, at least at the airports I've been to, and it hasn't been invasive. Airport security flying out of San Jose International (Costa Rica) has seemed considerably tighter.

    If you're really worried, I've found that I'm pulled aside for added security checks much less frequently if my beard is well trimmed and I'm wearing a suit. Applying this test to every passenger before boarding would be a bit much, but if it's applied randomly to cut down on the number of people pulled aside for other checks, it could speed things up and would be, in my opinion, much better than spending a week trapped on a breeding ground for infectious bacteria as you seem to prefer.
  • by yali (209015) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @11:46PM (#14059806)
    Actually, if you RTFriendlyA that you linked, you'll see that the fMRI procedure detects changes in brain activity associated with anxiety and impulse control. So conceptually it's not necessarily any closer to being a "lie detector" than the polygraph (though possibly better at detecting anxiety, or possibly not).

    On the other hand, fMRI would be very effective at stopping terrorists who try to sneak some metal [koppdevelopment.com] somewhere on their body. Messy, but effective.
  • by horacerumpole (877156) on Thursday November 17, 2005 @11:58PM (#14059867)
    See the Aviation Safety Network database [aviation-safety.net] to see some hijackings which happened after 9/11.

    You sound a bit like you think the world is like a Hollywood movie - where the people flying in the cabin know everything that's going on just like the person sitting in the cinema and seeing both the control tower, the cockpit and the hero hiding on the landing gear.

    Terrorist attacks do not play out so dramatically like in the movies, man.

  • by gnarlin (696263) on Friday November 18, 2005 @12:14AM (#14059957) Homepage Journal
    "Those who would give up
    a little freedom for a little safety,
    deserve neither freedom nor safety."
                    --Benjamin Franklin

    It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy
    to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon
    the supposition he may abuse it.
                    --George Washington

  • by sootman (158191) on Friday November 18, 2005 @12:21AM (#14059991) Homepage Journal
    "you can detect lies with an MRI machine, for example. How you would integrate that into an airport, I don't know."

    Easy. Just show up 2 days early for domestic flights, 4 days for international.
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday November 18, 2005 @12:23AM (#14060005) Homepage
    The company that makes this, NemesysCo. [nemesysco.com], has a whole line of voice analysis products, some of which are downloadable. At the bottom of the line, there's "Love Detector" [nemesysco.com]. Only $19.99 for Pocket PC, $49.95 for Windows PC.

    Then there's the cellular phone "Love Detector" service. [thelovedetector.co.uk] You call someone via their system, and after the call, you get an SMS message with their analysis. (TV commercial here. [love-detector.com] In Hebrew, for the Israeli version.)

    Moving up the product line a bit, they offer Ex-Sense [ex-sense.com], their low-end lie detector product. Only $149, including phone connector cable. Screenshots here. [ex-sense.com]

    Then there's Ex-Sense Pro [nemesysco.com], at $499. Unclear what you get with the "Pro" version.

    All these, NemesysCo says, use the same technology as Gatekeeper.

  • by rtechie (244489) on Friday November 18, 2005 @02:10AM (#14060505)
    OTOH, one has to critically analyze those techniques. "Lie detectors", ALL "lie detectors", simply DO NOT WORK. They are a scam based on intimidation. I actually read the article and this is more of the same crap. Here are the key quotes: ... passengers don headphones at a console and answer "yes" or "no" into a microphone to questions about whether they are planning something illicit ... "Some may feel nervous because they have used drugs, while having no intention to smuggle drugs," [Amir Lieberman, CEO of the company making this thing] said. ...

    So it seems that one of the questions you're asked is whether or not you've used "drugs". Makes you wonder what other personal questions it asks? The answer: Lots. The way lie detectors "work" is that the interviewer asks a long series of questions, many of which are personal, and many people are VERY likely to lie about (Have you ever stolen from an employer? for example). The interviewer is now confident that you've lied about SOMETHING in his presence, so he then proceeds to intimidate the subject by CLAIMING that he can tell whether or not he's lying. The idea is to trick the subject into making admissions.

    So how does that apply here? The users of the system "know" that EVERYONE who uses the system is "lying" so they have a built in excuse to pull people aside that are "suspicious". Like Arabic people for example. In the context of American airport security it simply provides an excuse to profile people.
  • A Clarification (Score:2, Informative)

    by JemVai777 (411658) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:25AM (#14061257)
    But, FYI, if you avoid those 2 things, you will never be hassled. Even (or perhaps especially) if you are wearing a turban and muttering, "Muhammad, Jihad." repeatedly under your breath.

    A subtle, yet important clarification: followers of the Sikh faith wear turbans [sikhtimes.com], not Arabs or Muslims.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:21AM (#14061569)
    I know I'm posting as an A.C., so up front is the basis for my observations: I am a dual-citizen and did my service in the Israeli military. I'm very familar with the security rationale and my closest cousin (practically my older brother) was one of the "Security Selectors" you talk about. (Un?)Fortunately, being Israeli and secular means that I have never been subjected to the intense screening process that non-Israelis endure at border crossings, so I can't speak to the process from personal experience. I have flown in and out of Israel some 80-90 times over the course of my life, and have entered by ship once.

    Their approach is about screening people more than bags, on the theory that weapons aren't dangerous, people are dangerous.

    Precisely. Your description of the screening process is also dead-on accurate.

    However, what works for Israel doesn't necessarily work for the USA. You're right in stating that the goal is to put some stress on the individual to evaluate the strength of their story. The security screeners aren't Einsteins in every field, however anybody (especially trained anybodys) can spot deceptive behavior when they see it. So, like you note, the screeners aren't so interested with the details so much as they are interested in the overall story and making sure it doesn't crumble under scrutiny.

    Why is this the tactic that is used? Suicide attacks need somebody willing to commit suicide. Although I am sure there are individuals in this world who can be ice-cold when walking to their own deaths, the overwhelming majority require a little assistance by way of religious fervor to convince themselves that they're simply going to go somewhere "better" when they explode. Israel has a long and sad library of suicide bombers for other means of transportation, and of the few that are caught every once in a while, there is enough data to form a profile. I'll focus on Muslim extremists here, since they account for the overwhelming majority of terrorists: the ones planning the attacks are most often *not* the ones carrying out the attacks. To understand why the security model is built the way it is, it is useful to understand the terrorist food chain and who it is that goes out to perform the attacks:

    1. Note the age difference between planners and executors: planners are old and the executors are young.
    2. Planning takes methodical, careful thought and patience. Execution takes the ability to ignore your evolution for a few minutes and the ability to shoulder some weapons.
    3. If all the planners committed attacks, we would be seeing much fewer attacks.

    For all of their talk, the planners are not the ones doing the deeds they profess to believe in. They stay home and send brainwashed teens to do the dirty work. What are the lures?

    1. Sex. Islamic culture is highly prohibitive of sexual behavior outside of marriage, and "Secular" Islam is largely a modern invention that translates roughly to "slightly less than orthodox". Islamic teens are no less horny than the other billion teens on the planet, however where western teens are fooling around at 14, Islamic teens aren't allowed to be alone in a room with a member of the opposite sex, let alone hold hands, until they are (or are practically) married. Under these circumstances, undestand that the promise of 70 virgins waiting for you in heaven can be pretty attractive. Remember when you were a teen and sex made you think backwards?
    2. Shame. Islamic culture is also highly prohibitive of deviant behavior. Homosexuality among Islamic culture is more than just "frowned upon". There is no reason to believe that the incidence of homosexuality among the members of the Islamic faith are any different than any other faith on the globe. The incidence of homosexuality among males cited in the Kinsey report is 10% if I remember correctly, so even assume a 5% rate or a 2.5% rate, you have a quite a few homosexuals living very much in the closet. T

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