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Topic Summary - Displaying 2 post(s).
Posted by: George W. Maschke
Posted on: Jan 4th, 2009 at 7:25am
  Mark & QuoteQuote
The Los Angeles Sheriff's Office's flirtation with Layered Voice Analysis (LVA) was reported as early as May 2008 by Fox News Los Angeles reporter Adam Housely, who hails LVA in a fatuously uncritical blog entry (including a video report) here:
Posted by: George W. Maschke
Posted on: Dec 16th, 2008 at 4:46pm
  Mark & Quote

Lynn Robbins, President, Voice Analysis Technologies

Los Angeles television station KABC news reports -- uncritically -- that the L.A. County Sheriff's Office has purchased, and will be fielding on an experimental basis, "Layered Voice Analysis" (LVA), an emperor's-new-clothes lie detection technology produced by the Israeli company Nemesysco and marketed by Voice Analysis Technologies.

But the sheriff should have saved the taxpayers' money. While KABC uncritically describes Layered Voice Analysis as "cutting edge," independent research indicates that LVA performs at roughly chance levels of accuracy.

Previous dupes who have shelled out money for this bogus lie detector include the U.S. military's Special Operations Command, which was taken in to the tune of $150,000.


L.A. Co. gets cutting edge lie detector
Friday, December 12, 2008

By Robert Holguin

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- There is a new innovation for law enforcement to get to the truth. The science of lie detectors has advanced.

Traditional lie detectors, or polygraphs, measure your breathing, your heart rate and even how much you sweat. But, this latest innovation is checking for lies exactly where they start: with the human voice. While nothing is foolproof, its inventors say this is about as close as it gets.

The movie "Blade Runner" is set in a futuristic Los Angeles, where detectives use computers and mathematical equations to measure emotional reactions. In the movie, it's part of a test to detect deception.

What was once science fiction has become the latest tool in law enforcement.

"Think of a polygraph as a black-and-white picture. This is a color picture," says Lynn Robbins, Voice Analysis Technologies.

Layered Voice Analysis Computer Display

Robbins is talking about Layered Voice Analysis, which goes far beyond the methods employed in traditional lie detector tests.

"This measures the frequency of the human voice, as somebody is speaking in real time ... using conversation. It doesn't matter what language they speak," says Robbins.

Robbins is the president of the Wisconsin-based company that is marketing the technology to law enforcement agencies around the world; including the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Robbins demos LVA for Sgt. Brian Muller

"Without this technology, the investigator may decide to drop that line of questioning and go another direction. Yet, this tool may say, 'Hey, you know what? There's some deception here. Maybe I need to do a little more probing over here,'" says Sgt. Brian Muller, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Unlike a polygraph test, which measures stress levels, Layered Voice Analysis measures the frequencies in a person's voice; even those inaudible to the human ear.

"The way the frontal lobe of the brain communicates with the vocal chords of the human voice ... there's a wide spectrum that covers the entire human voice," says Robbins.

Eyewitness News Reporter Robert Holguin put the tool to the test. ABC7 used footage from one of the most infamous presidential speeches ever made: the moment former President Bill Clinton said, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." Clinton was referring to allegations that he had a relationship with then-White House intern-turned-employee Monica Lewinsky.

"When you see a 'False Statement' with an 'S.O.S', you have something that his very wrong," says Robbins. Those two indicators popped up on the computer screen when Clinton's tape was played.

Even in real time, the machine caught Holguin's attempts at deception and honesty.

In clinical trials, Robbins says the technology has a 95 percent success rate. It is currently being used on a trial basis with the L.A. County Sheriff's Department's Crime Lab.

It's another option for interrogators and officers who say this technology could be used in conjunction with polygraphs.

Robbins says the software has applications outside of traditional law enforcement. Some European countries are using it at airports to screen for falsified passports and terror suspects.

Despite Lynn Robbins' self-serving claims about the supposed 95% accuracy of LVA, recent independent studies of Nemesysco's LVA and a competing voice-based lie detector suggest that they operate at chance levels:

  • Voice Stress Analysis Instrument Evaluation (365 kb PDF). Final Report, Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) Contract FA 4814-04-0011. By Harry Hollien and James D. Harnsberger. University of Florida, Gainesville. 17 March 2006. "The findings generated by this study led to the conclusion the [sic] neither the CVSA nor the LVA were sensitive to the presence of deception or stress."
  • Assessing the Validity of Voice Stress Analysis Tools in a Jail Setting (2.1 mb PDF). Research report by Kelly R. Damphousse, Laura Pointon, Deidre Upchurch, and Rebecca K. Moore. National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Document No. 219031 dated 31 March 2007. "The goal of this study was to test the validity and reliability of two popular VSA programs (LVA [Layered Voice Analysis] and CVSA [Computer Voice Stress Analyzer]) in a 'real world' setting. Questions about recent drug use were asked of a random sample of arrestees in a county jail. Their responses and the VSA output were compared to a subsequent urinalysis to determine if the VSA programs could detect deception. Both VSA programs show poor validity - neither program efficiently determined who was being deceptive about recent drug use. The programs were not able to detect deception at a rate any better than chance…."