Moscow Airport Says Passenger Screening Device Doesn’t Detect Lies: It Reads Minds

On 6 April 2006, Adrian Blomfield of the Daily Telegraph reported that Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport would soon begin requiring passengers to submit to voice-based lie detector “testing” in an attempt to identify terrorists and drug smugglers. The device, Nemesysco’s GK-1 Security Access Control System, is completely unsupported by any peer-reviewed scientific research whatsoever. Now, in an apparent attempt at public relations damage control, Domodedovo Airport’s press office has issued a press release explaining that “GK-1 is not a lie detector…. GK-1 is a system … trying to detect whether [a person] is about to commit a crime.” So it’s not a lie detector, it’s a mind reader. Got it?

Here is the full text of the press release:

MOSCOW (RNWire) – In response to some media reports, in which the GK-1 multilevel voice analysis system was erroneously referred to as a lie detector system, the press service of Domodedovo International Airport states that these systems cannot be treated as analogous. GK-1 is based on the latest computer technologies and is a further development of the traditional profiling system.

Profiling is a preliminary interviewing by trained specialists, who analyze a persons’ look, responses and behavior. This method is actively used by security services of the world largest airports and airlines in order to prevent terrorist attacks and  transportation of illegal items and substances.

GK-1 is a system automating profiling methods and increasing profiling effectiveness. This is achieved, for instance, through exclusion of the so called human factor effect, i.e. mistakes made as a result of tiredness, possible collusion, etc.

GK-1 is not a lie detector, which is focused on an important question. GK-1 is a system performing multilevel analysis of emotional aspects of a person’s voice, trying to detect whether he/she is about to commit a crime. In contrast to cases, when a crime has already been committed, the intention to commit a crime leads to a unique psychological and emotional state which can be detected by GK-1.

The checks with the use of the afore-said technology will be made selectively and under control of Domodedovo Aviation Security specialists and representative of the federal authorities. Suspicious passengers will be offered to voluntarily undergo such a test. A passenger may be denied boarding if he/she refuses to undergo a test.

GK-1 interviewing is performed in an automatic mode. Questions won’t be of personal nature and will not prejudice the person’s rights. Such interviewing is related only to prevention of terrorist attacks and transportation of illegal items and substances.

In the course of pilot operations the content and the number of questions (from three to five in accordance with the plan) may be changed in order to improve the system’s effectiveness.

The possibility and advisability of the large-scale use of GK-1 system at Domodedovo will be determined on the basis of the pilot operations’ results. The use of such a system will not cause inconveniencies to the airport visitors. On the contrary, the successful introduction of GK-1 will lead to a reduction of checks currently performed at the airport, which will improve passenger comfort.

Press Service of Domodedovo International Airport would like to draw your attention to the fact that the airport is responsible for security of all airport visitors, including passengers and people coming to meet relatives and friends at the airport. This explains the necessity to continuously improve the security system.

GK-1 multilevel voice analysis system was developed by NEMESYSCO (Israel). The company’s representative in Russia is Urbis Management Systems Software. The testing which has been carried out by Domodedovo Aviation Security, Areopag-Center, and Drug Smuggling Prevention Department of Domodedovo Customs Authorities at Domodedovo Airport for several months, confirmed that the system can be effectively used in the security zones to prevent terrorist attacks, illegal traffic of arms, ammunition, explosives, poisonous substances and drugs.

For discussion of Domodeovo Airport’s regrettable decision to field this Emperor’s New Clothes pseudo-technology, see Lie the Friendly Skies on the AntiPolygraph.org message board.

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