“Honest, It’s the Truth”

Moira Gunn writes on “Computer Voice Stress Analysis” (CVSA) for SiliconValley.com. Excerpt:

Here’s what I call scary technology. Ever hear of a `voice stress analyzer`? It’s almost exactly what it says it is. It’s a technology that purports to measure a selection of inaudible characteristics of the human voice. Of course, it’s the `analyzer` part that’s scary. Even if we know the values of these so-called characteristics, once known, how do we know what they mean?

Mercury News staffer Sean Webby reports that the FBI refuses to use these devices and the U. S. Department of Defense Polygraph Institute gives them a less than 50 percent accuracy rating.

So, the burning questions for me are: Who would use them? And why?

According to the Web site for the National Institute for Truth Verification (NITV), an organization that manufactures this equipment, its product is used by some 1,000 police departments, two dozen district attorneys and prosecutors, and nearly 40 correctional facilities. Add to this the California Highway Patrol and you’ve got yourself a mighty array of law enforcement agencies.

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