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Canadian police and press believe in CVSA (Read 4869 times)
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Canadian police and press believe in CVSA
Feb 19th, 2011 at 9:04am
Mark & Quote Quote 
Police in the community of Saanich, British Columbia Canada have cleared three people of suspicion in a murder case using the CVSA.

http://vancouverislandmurders.wordpress.com

The retired policemen who have Canadian distribution rights to the CVSA want it to spread across the country says this poorly-researched article appearing in British Columbia and Quebec newspapers:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Deception+detection+Victoria+interrogators+s...

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/Masters+police+interrogation/4312968/story.htm...

Instead of a lie detector to assist with interrogations, Wiebe uses something called a Computer Voice Stress Analyzer. A microphone records the person's answers and the computer measures small frequency modulations in their voice.

Saanich police adopted this technology after Wiebe took the training in 2002.

He said few Canadian police departments have made the switch and in the U.S. debate still rages over which is the better model.

In January, Wiebe taught the interrogation techniques to about 20 local law enforcement personnel at the Justice Institute of B.C. But, other than several Saanich cops, few major crime investigators in Greater Victoria have taken the training.

"We'd like to do more training in Canada," Wiebe said. "We want to pass our knowledge to local law enforcement."
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Re: Canadian police and press believe in CVSA
Reply #1 - Feb 20th, 2011 at 8:06pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
Some earlier text links are no longer leading to content.

The text content is available @:

https://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=306153774041&topic=17791

The two videos that were linked in that text are:

http://insidedateline.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/09/16/5122593-dream-house-mystery...

NBC Dateline look at the Lindsay Buziak murder

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr3E_2KTxI0

ABC primetime expose of "Dr." Humble and CVSA
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Re: Canadian police and press believe in CVSA
Reply #2 - Feb 24th, 2011 at 1:32am
Mark & Quote Quote 
Re-reading that original article, I see that the police cleared the people of suspicion but have not said if they used a polygraph or CVSA.

Members of the local community, which is on an island, were told it was a polygraph. The local police department does not have a polygraph and there is no explanation as to why they would go to the trouble and expense to bring in a polygraph and examiner in order to clear the names of three private citizens.

There's something awfully wrong about what is happening in Saanich, Canada.

So, what is known is that three people were cleared by police using, either, a polygraph or CVSA. The Canadian press has reported false statements about some ex-police who now market the CVSA in that part of the world.
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not all Canadians are fooled
Reply #3 - Mar 12th, 2011 at 10:13am
Mark & Quote Quote 
The CVSA PR campaign in Canada is receiving new, and more thoughtful, attention:

Controversial device popular with public, private employers
While the tests are becoming increasingly popular, accuracy is questioned
By David Baines, Vancouver Sun March 12, 2011

  Bob Wall (far right) and Don Wiebe test a subject using a device called a computer voice stress analyzer. While Wall and Wiebe claim an accuracy rate of 98 per cent or better, other studies have shown the device to do no better than pure chance.Photograph by: Darren Stone, Postmedia News Files, Vancouver Sun

First in a series

Public and private agencies are using a "truth verification" device that has been discredited by numerous authorities as a tool to screen hundreds of job applicants in B.C.

The tests are being administered by ITV Consulting Inc., a Victoria firm that licenses the Canadian rights to the Computerized Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA) from a U.S. company.

As stated on ITV's website, the device "measures small frequency modulations in the voice. These inaudible variations, when detected, measured and displayed, accurately determine the truthfulness of each statement elicited from a test subject."

ITV is owned and operated by two retired Saanich police detectives, Don Wiebe and Bob Wall. An active Saanich member, Det. Sgt. Craig Sampson, is also listed as a staff member.

ITV's clients include:

- B.C. Corrections branch, which administers the province's correctional facilities and programs. The branch says ITV has conducted 645 CVSA tests to pre-screen job applicants during the past three years.

- University of Victoria campus security department, which says ITV has conducted about 50 similar tests on prospective employees during the past five years.

- Sundry financial institutions, which hire ITV to conduct tests on employees who are suspected of internal malfeasance. ITV says it has conducted 15 to 20 such tests.

ITV claims the device can definitively tell whether a person is lying: "The finished session is evaluated by the computer, rendering its findings of 'deception' or 'no deception,' removing any possibility of examiner error, as well as providing a completely objective examination," it states on its website.

The firm recommends the device be used in conjunction with "the expert interrogation techniques used and taught by ITV."

"Used in this manner, clinical studies show the accuracy score of our product to be 98 per cent with no inconclusives," it states.

This is an impressive statement. If true, the CVSA is the holy grail of lie detectors. However, there is little scientific evidence to support this claim, and much to repudiate it.

In a 2007 study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, researchers used two voice stress analyzers systems - including the CVSA device used by ITV consulting - to quiz people who had just been arrested about their recent drug use, then compared their answers with the results of urine tests.

"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," the study concluded.

It added: "The data also suggest poor reliability for both VSA products when we compared expert and novice interpretations of the output."

In other words, the expertise of the examiner didn't matter.

More generally, the researchers noted that "no published research studies have demonstrated that VSA programs can distinguish between 'general' stress and the stress related to being deceptive."

Despite numerous studies that make similar conclusions, voice stress analyzers have become very popular, particularly in the United States since the September 2001 terrorist attack on New York City.

The firm that licenses the device to ITV, the National Institute of Truth Verification (NITV), located in West Palm Beach, Fla., claims it is "used by 1,800 local, state and federal agencies, as well as by U.S. Military Special Operations and Intelligence units."

The popularity of the device, combined with its questionable accuracy, raises the question: How many false readings does it generate and, as a result, how much harm does it do?

"The people we have done it for are very pleased with it. We have had no issues in all the years I have done it," Wiebe said in an interview. "I believe in its ability to detect deception ... If I didn't have 100-percent confidence in the CVSA, I wouldn't be using it."

In any event, he said, the tests are voluntary, and job applicants are never disqualified on the basis of a CVSA "without something to back it up."

The tests are, strictly speaking, voluntary. But if you want to apply to the Saanich police force or the B.C. Corrections branch, they are mandatory. They are not mandatory at UVic, but refusal is a factor that is "weighted" against the applicant, says campus security director Peter Zacour.

Wiebe was introduced to the CVSA device in 2002, while he was still working as a Saanich police detective. He conducted a six-month study, using it for both criminal investigations and pre-employment screening, and came up with some stunning results:

"The CVSA has been used 35 times and it has shown a 100-per-cent accuracy rate. All the tests conducted have either had the results confirmed by investigation or confession," he stated in his report.

"In 21 CVSA examination that resulted in deceptive results, 17 of the subjects have admitted to the allegations. This would be an 86-per-cent confession rate, which is extraordinarily high. The other four deceptive results were confirmed by investigation."

Wiebe said the device was also used to screen prospective police members: "This has resulted in three quality candidate being hired and one possible candidate being denied due to pre-and post-test admissions during the examination. I believe that as a result we are getting a higher calibre of recruits ..."

The report included summaries of each case. Many are not as conclusive as Wiebe's report suggests. For example, he describes how tests were conducted on two people who had access to stolen drugs at a handicapped facility.

"The male was tested and showed that he was telling the truth and he was not involved in the theft of the narcotics.

"The female who was initially cooperative refused to take a test when offered the chance.

"Further information provided by the same male and other staff members showed that the female had a drug addiction problem and was suspected of stealing other items.

"The female no longer works for the facility."

As described, there is nothing remotely scientific about this case study. It is strictly anecdotal. A firm conclusion (that the device worked) was made on the basis of circumstantial evidence (that other people said she did it).

Reputable agencies in the United States, meanwhile, were conducting their own studies, and coming to quite opposite conclusions.

In November 2003, the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation published a report entitled Study of the Utility and Validity of Voice Stress Analyzers.

The report noted there had been "no scientific studies conducted, to date, to measure the validity of the computer stress analyzer to detect deception."

"Manufacturers contest that their computer stress analyzers are 100 per cent accurate and effective by producing testimonials as a foundation to their claims, but this is not widely accepted as scientific validity."

The report said the U.S. Department of Defence Polygraph Institute -which is mandated by the U.S. Congress to study new lie detection technologies -had conducted a series of studies that "produced no evidence that the use of the CVSA provides accuracy rates better than chance."

The defence department also noted that a study conducted by the U.S. National Research Council "indicated accuracy rates at or below chance levels, and low levels of reliability, both being necessary cornerstones for a successful diagnostic tool."

Notwithstanding the dearth of scientific support for the device, Saanich police -based on Wiebe's report -decided to adopt it for both criminal investigations and screening new police recruits.

Wiebe soon realized he could not only use the device for police investigation purposes, but also for private commercial purposes.

In 2004, while still working for the Saanich police force, he began marketing CVSA testing services and interrogation techniques to other police forces, government agencies and financial institutions.

The following year, he incorporated ITV Consulting, through which he now markets these services. He was later joined by Wall, who became a business partner and co-director of ITV. In February 2008, they both retired from the police force and began working full time for the firm. At some point, Sampson, who is head of Saanich's major crimes section, became associated with the firm.

As a Saanich police officer and certified CVSA examiner, Sampson conducts pre-employment screening tests for the force.

When he is not available, the force hires ITV to screen prospective applicants. To date, ITV has conducted seven such tests, all in 2009.

Sampson also contracts his services to ITV on an as-needed basis. (He has written permission from the Saanich Police Board to perform this outside work and, in any event, he does not do any work for ITV that involves Saanich police.)

Insp. Rob McColl, who is head of Saanich's detective division (and Sampson's boss) said the force stopped using the CVSA device for criminal investigations in 2007, not because they lost faith in its ability to detect lies, but because the RCMP installed a polygraph operator in Victoria, which made it more economical to use that device.

He said Saanich police still use the CVSA device to screen prospective recruits.

I asked McColl whether he has seen any scientific study to support ITV's claim that the device is 98-per-cent accurate.

"Personally, no," he replied. "I have no technical data to back it up or take issue with it. My view of these instruments [polygraphs and CVSA devices] is that any of them are only as good as the operators. It's a tool we use, and in my view, it's an effective tool."

I asked Wiebe to show me the "clinical studies" that show the device is 98-per-cent accurate, as he advertises on his website.

To my surprise, he said he had never seen any of them. He said he simply took the claim at face value from the National Institute of Truth Verification, the Florida company that manufactures the device and sold ITV the licensing rights in Canada.

NEXT: We learn that the founder of the National Institute of Truth Verification, Dr. Charles Humble, earned his PhD in a strip mall in Indiana after six hours of bible study.


Read more:
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Controversial+device+popular+with+public+privat...
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Re: Canadian police and press believe in CVSA
Reply #4 - Mar 13th, 2011 at 4:51pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
There's the first report on Don Wiebe and Canadian use of the CVSA on AntiPolygraph.org @ https://antipolygraph.org/news/polygraph-news-010.shtml

That's nine years of puff pieces in the press and Wiebe claiming 100% accuracy for the CVSA. The ITV Consulting group of Wiebe, Robert Wall, Craig Sampson, and D. Glenn Foster for the first time this weekend have encountered critical reporting in Canada - unlike the article here that's commented upon by George W. Maschke:

2 May 2002 "Voice analyser pyramid points to truth"

Louise Dickson reports on the first use of Computerized Voice Stress Analysis (CVSA) by Canadian police in this puff piece published in the Victoria Times Colonist. Excerpt:


"Did you actually see Ruth shoot Billy?"

"Yes," the suspect replied.

"Did you shoot Billy?"

"No."

But the image on the computer screen told another story. In this Florida case, a picture was worth 25 years.

The Florida investigator was using a computerized voice stress analyser to detect deception. Saanich police have the first analyser in use in Canada.

"It's a very accurate instrument," said Saanich police Sgt. Don Wiebe as he played the taped interrogation in the Florida case. "If done accurately and correctly by the operator, it will be 100 per cent effective in verifying truth."

The Florida investigator, trying to get to the bottom of a a drug shooting, hooked up his suspect to the voice stress analyser. After a series of direct questions, it became apparent that both Ruth and her boyfriend had shot Billy.

Wiebe said that using the $16,000 analyser is as easy as hooking a microphone to a lapel. The microphone directs the sound into the software of the computer. The tool, used by 1,103 law enforcement agencies in the U.S., is portable and less intrusive than a polygraph test.

The machine works by measuring the FM frequency in the voice, Wiebe explained.

"Voices line up in two modulations, AM and FM. When you are speaking, your AM frequency rides on top of your FM frequency. If you are under considerable stress, the FM in your voice diminishes," said Wiebe.

When someone gives a perfectly truthful answer, the voice stress analyser projects an image on the computer screen of a pyramid with diagonal lines. When someone lies, the diagonal lines diminish and plateau. The pyramid shape becomes more of a block.


Like polygraphy, CVSA, peddled by the "National Institute of Truth Verification," is a pseudoscientific fraud. In the early 20th century, uncritical journalism of the kind we see here helped to delude the general public into believing in the myth of the polygraph. Now, in the early 21st century, the same process continues with respect to CVSA.
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ITV Consulting, CVSA players exposed in Canadian press
Reply #5 - Mar 15th, 2011 at 9:41pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
From the facebook discussion group: Find Lindsay Buziak's Murderers @ https://www.facebook.com/pages/Find-Lindsay-Buziaks-Murderers/306153774041

Second in a series about Saanich, British Columbia police and investigators and the discredited CVSA device. Charles Humble, Don Wiebe, Bob Wall, Craig Sampson, D Glenn Foster and more.

‘Father’ of voice stress analysis got PhD after six hours of bible study at strip mall
By David Baines, Vancouver Sun columnist March 14, 2011

Second in a series

The National Institute of Truth Verification, a private company based in West Palm Beach, Fla., claims that its Computerized Voice Stress Analyzer is 98-per-cent effective in detecting whether somebody is telling the truth.

The tests — which purport to measure voice stress and, therefore, deception — are offered in Canada by ITV Consulting Inc., a Victoria company run by two former Saanich police detectives, Don Wiebe and Bob Wall.

Since the company was founded in 2005, ITV has administered hundreds of test for public and private employers in B.C.

The B.C. Corrections branch, which administers the province’s correctional facilities and programs, says ITV has conducted 645 CVSA tests to screen job applicants during the past three years.

The University of Victoria campus security department says ITV has conducted about 50 similar tests on prospective security personnel during the past five years.

Sundry financial institutions have also used ITV to test employees who are suspected of internal malfeasance. ITV says it has conducted 15 to 20 such tests.

Saanich police also use the device to screen prospective recruits.

On its website, ITV states that clinical studies show the device, used in conjunction with the “expert interrogation techniques used and taught by ITV,” is 98-per-cent accurate “with no inconclusives.”

However, when I asked Wiebe for scientific proof, he was unable to provide any. He said he was simply relying on NITV, from which it licenses the rights to sell the device and administer the tests in Canada.

NITV lists as its founder Charles Humble, “widely considered the ‘father’ of modern day voice stress analysis.”

Humble is a former U.S. army officer and Indianapolis police officer. In March 2006, he was the subject of an ABC Primetime News expose.

Pressed by ABC reporter Brian Ross, Humble admitted he got his “doctorate” in psychology from an unaccredited university, Indiana Christian University — which at the time was located in the same strip mall that NITV had its office — after just six hours of bible study.

“And you call yourself ‘Dr.’ Humble based on that?” Ross asked.

“Yes,” Humble replied.

“Is that honest, do you think?”

“I think it is.”

NITV must also think it’s honest, because it continues to refer to him as “Dr.” Humble, and he is still listed as an NITV director.

I asked Wiebe what he thought when Humble provided details of his doctorate:

“I thought it was a personal thing on him. I didn’t think it had anything to do with the CVSA itself,” he said.

During the ABC interview, Humble repeated the 98-per-cent accuracy claim.

Ross asked whether there had been an independent study to corroborate that.

“I don’t believe that there has been an independent scientific study that shows this actually works,” Humble admitted.

It does not appear that any corroborating studies have been done since the ABC interview. NITV lists 15 “studies validating voice stress analysis,” but they all predate the interview. Wondering whether any studies had been done
since the interview, I called NITV’s office in West Palm Beach. A short while later, I received a call from somebody who introduced himself as “professor emeritus” Jim Chapman.

Chapman said he has “no real connection” to NITV. However, he is a director — along with Wiebe and several other certified CVSA examiners — of the National Association of Computerized Voice Stress Analysts.

The association is dedicated to promoting the CVSA device. Given that NITV is the “manufacturer and sole source” for the device, the association essentially acts as NITV’s promotional arm.

Chapman told me he has just completed a 19-year study confirming that the CVSA device is 96.4-per-cent accurate. He also said the study has been peer reviewed, but when I asked for a copy, he said it has not yet been published, and until it is, he could not provide one.

When I asked whether he could refer me to any other study confirming a 98-per-cent accuracy rate, as advertised by NITV, he suddenly became quite angry:

“You are a dangerous man,” he said. “What you are doing is putting people’s lives in jeopardy. I resent that you are trying to put U.S. troops and people in [criminal enforcement] in jeopardy by casting aspersions [on the CVSA device.]”

One of the studies referenced on both NITV’s and ITV’s websites was conducted in 2005 by the U.S. air force Research Laboratory on behalf of the U.S National Institute of Justice.

That study — which analyzed recorded interviews and was not peer reviewed — found that voice stress analyzers are capable of detecting truth or deception at a rate “better than chance.”

However, the researchers dismissed the notion that these devices, by themselves, are lie detectors. The accuracy rate, they found, was also a function of the examiner’s experience.

“VSA systems are capable of providing an examiner with a waveform or other response that may be a reasonable reflection of the stress level being experienced by the subject, in a majority of the cases,” they stated.

But they said the critical leap — equating that stress to deception — is something the examiners should decide, not only with reference to the stress reading, but also the subject’s demeanour “and other evidence from the  case.”

The researchers’ heavy emphasis on subjective elements is at odds with ITV’s claim that the CVSA examination is completely objective.

On its website, the company claims CVSA readings are evaluated by computer “removing any possibility of examiner error, as well as providing a completely objective examination.”

The researchers concluded: “The goal in using a VSA system or polygraph should be to convince the subject that they cannot deceive the operator, and that the instrument will detect their deception and their best avenue is to confess to the crime.”

In other words, the instrument should be used to intimidate subjects and, given the high number of false readings, fool them into telling the truth.

Clearly, any black box could do that.


dbaines@vancouversun.com

Read David Baines’ blog at vancouversun.com/baines

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Father+voice+stress+analysis+after+hours+bible+...
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Canadian press wakes up and exposes the CVSA
Reply #6 - Mar 20th, 2011 at 5:56am
Mark & Quote Quote 
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Corrections+using+truth+verification+device+scr...

B.C. Corrections using 'truth verification' device to screen job applicants

By David Baines, The Vancouver Sun March 16, 2011

The B.C. Corrections branch is a big believer in the Computerized Voice Stress Analyzer, a device that purports to be able to detect deception by measuring modulations in the subject's voice.

CVSA tests are mandatory for anybody applying for a correctional officer job at a provincial custody centre.

The tests are conducted by ITV Consulting Inc., a Victoria company run by former Saanich police detectives Don Wiebe and Bob Wall.

During the last three years, ITV has conducted 645 tests for the branch. The firm charges $250 to $300 per test.

The corrections branch says it uses the CVSA device as part of its screening process: "There are multiple steps in B.C. Corrections' screening process for new employees and the CVSA interview is intended to complement those other steps," it stated in an email.

But a letter of recommendation provided to ITV in May 2006 by Tedd Howard, then warden of the Prince George Regional Correction Centre, indicates that the device has been instrumental in deciding who is hired, and who is not.

During the previous year, he stated, ITV had tested 52 prospective employees: "Of the 52 applicants, 16 were screened out as unsuitable that would otherwise have been hired.

"The CVSA test results indicated deception and criminal activity omissions including such things as use of illegal substances, solicitation of prostitution, sex offences, acts of violence, as well as a myriad of theft, fraud and trafficking offences."

Problem is, equating voice stress with deception is a dicey theory. Most credible studies show voice stress analyzers are no more effective than flipping a coin.

A 2007 field study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice used two voice stress analyzers systems -including the one used by ITV consulting -to quiz people who had just been arrested about their recent drug use, then compared their answers with the results of urine tests.

"The programs were not able to detect deception at a rate any better than chance," the study concluded.

The study found, however, that subjects were less likely to lie about their drug use if they thought the device could actually detect lies. This is known as the "bogus pipeline effect," and may, in fact, be the device's only utility.

Offsetting this utility, however, is the prospect of incriminating -and disqualifying -an innocent applicant.

Several posters on Officer.com, an online discussion group for U.S. law enforcement officers, claim they were unfairly disqualified by CVSA tests.

"I failed a CVSA a few months back," one poster stated in February 2008. "I spiked on 'Have you ever used Cocaine?' Funny thing is, I have NEVER used any illegal narcotics. It DQ'd [disqualified] me."

Wiebe insists that no applicant is disqualified on the basis of a CVSA test unless there is corroborating evidence, but posters on Officer.com have heard this sort of assurance before:

"You cannot be DQ'd strictly for not passing a polygraph or CVSA," one poster advised. "They are strictly tools to be used to support what has already been found or point where to look. If they told you that you are DQ'd based on the test alone you may want to bring up the Federal Protection Act."

To which another poster replied: "The problem is they never do DQ you for the test alone, they always give you an answer like, 'Due to issues arising from your background investigation.'"

Lorna Fadden, a Vancouver expert in forensic linguistics, said she is "disturbed that provincial agencies would use this device."

Fadden completed her doctorate in forensic linguistics in 2008, and has taught at SFU and the B.C. Justice Institute. She also consults for law enforcement agencies and legal counsel on cases involving language evidence.

"There is no actual proven correlation between vocal stress and telling a truth or lie," she told me in an email this week.

"Even if there were, there are simply too many factors to foul up reliable results. What might be viewed as voice stress might actually be due to pathological speech, natural or medication-induced tremor, illicit narcotics and so on. For all we know, a mild case of hay fever could interfere with vocal stress."

She concluded: "No product, method or technique that has the potential to alter the course of someone's life should be on the market without rigorous testing." On its website, ITV claims that clinical studies show the device, used in conjunction with the "expert interrogation techniques used and taught by ITV," is 98-per-cent accurate "with no inconclusives."

But neither ITV, nor the National Institute of Truth Verification -the Florida company that licenses the technology to ITV and makes the same boast -can produce an independent study to back up this assertion.

Fadden dismisses their claim as "preposterous... The polygraph is probably the best we have, but there is darn good reason it's not admissible in court, either."

Despite its dubious accuracy, the device has proved to be popular, particular after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

NITV claims the CVSA device "is used by 1,800 local, state and federal agencies," but it doesn't name the agencies, which makes this figure impossible to confirm.

NITV also claims the device is used by "U.S. Military Special Operations and Intelligence units." However, the U.S. Department of Defense prohibited the use of voice stress analyzers in 2005.

"Merely getting people to talk is not sufficient," Robert Rogalski, Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Counterintelligence and Security), explained in a March 2006 letter to the American Spectator.

"That information must be assessed for accuracy and truthfulness... Until scientific testing adequately proves the reliability and accuracy of CVSA, the Department of Defense would be irresponsible to condone the acquisition of such an instrument."

Rogalski noted that researchers at the University of Florida had just completed a study of voice stress analysis "and we await the opportunity to review that study."

Within days, that study was released. It concluded that "neither CVSA nor [a similar device] showed any sensitivity to the presence of deception or stress."

Despite all these concerns, CVSA tests are being routinely administered in B.C. In addition to the corrections branch, the University of Victoria uses the device to screen security personnel; the Saanich and Oak Bay police forces use it to screen prospective police recruits; and sundry financial institutions use it to ferret out malfeasance.


March 12: Computerized Voice Stress Analyzers are increasingly popular, but their usefulness is being questioned.

March 15: We learn that NITV's founder, Dr. Charles Humble, obtained his 'doctorate' from a diploma mill in Indiana.

March 17: Are job applicants being unfairly disqualified?
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CVSA "truth verification" now being exposed in Canada
Reply #7 - Apr 6th, 2011 at 3:14pm
Mark & Quote Quote 
http://www.vancouversun.com/Saanich+police+stop+using+controversial+detector+dev...

Saanich police to stop using controversial lie detector device

UVic security also reconsidering its use of ‘voice stress analyzer’ to screen prospective employees, but B.C. Corrections stays course

By David Baines, Vancouver Sun April 6, 2011   

In March, I reported that several public and private organizations in B.C. are using a controversial lie detector device to screen prospective employees.

I am now pleased to report that the Saanich police department is discontinuing its use of this very dubious device and the University of Victoria campus security department is considering dumping it.

The biggest user, however — the B.C. Corrections branch — appears to be standing pat.

The device is called the Computerized Voice Stress Analyzer. It claims to be able to detect deception by measuring voice modulations.

CVSA tests are offered in B.C. by ITV Consulting Inc., a Victoria firm run by two former Saanich police detectives, Don Wiebe and Bob Wall.

ITV also contracts Craig Sampson, current head of Saanich’s major crimes section, to conduct tests on an as-needed basis.

ITV states on its website that clinical studies show the device is 98-per-cent accurate “with no inconclusives.”

However, when I asked Wiebe to show me these studies, he said he has never seen any.

He said he is simply taking the word of the U.S. company that developed the CVSA device and licenses the marketing rights to ITV.

That company is called the National Institute of Truth Verification. It is based in West Palm Beach in Florida and was founded by “Dr.” Charles Humble, who obtained his doctorate from a diploma mill in Indiana after six hours of bible study.

NITV was also unable to provide me with any clinical studies to back up its 98-per-cent accuracy claim. I did find, however, several credible studies showing that the machine is wrong just as much as it is right, which not only renders it useless, it makes it potentially dangerous.

Even though there is little or no scientific justification for using it, the Saanich police force uses it as a screening device for all potential applicants. Applicants who refuse to take it are disqualified.

Saanich has its own CVSA machine, a legacy from Wiebe’s days as a Saanich detective. Sampson, as an active Saanich police member, conducts these tests for the force. On his own time, he conducts tests for ITV clients.

Those clients include the University of Victoria campus security department, which uses the tests as a device to screen prospective hires. Applicants are told the tests are optional, but refusal will be weighted against them.

During the last five years, ITV has conducted 25 tests for the UVic security department on a contract basis. (UVic earlier told me ITV had conducted about 50 tests during that period, but now says the figure is half that).

By far the biggest user is the B.C. Corrections branch. CVSA tests are mandatory for anybody applying for a correctional officer job at a provincial custody centre. During the last three years, ITV has conducted 645 tests for the branch.

All three organizations — Saanich police, UVic and B.C. Corrections — say they do not rely exclusively on the CVSA test results to make hiring decisions. They say the test is just one of many tools and stages in the hiring process.

The test is also used to intimidate subjects into telling the truth, which suggests that any black box would do the job, as long as the subject can be convinced that it can detect lies.

In the absence of any scientific evidence the device works, it seems clear that if the employer places any material weight on the test results, it is placing the applicant in unreasonable jeopardy.
Since my series was published, Saanich police have advised they intend to phase out CVSA tests as a screening tool.

“We are going to transition away from CVSA,” Sgt. Dean Jantzen, who handles communications for the Saanich police, said in a telephone interview.

Jantzen said the sergeant in charge of recruiting proposed last year, in writing, that the force move to polygraph testing to be consistent with other police forces. (Saanich police made no mention of this proposal when I talked to them last month.)

Jantzen said prospective recruits usually apply to several different police departments, so it makes sense to submit them to only one test. And since all the other police forces in B.C. use the polygraph, it makes sense for Saanich to use it, too.

(Polygraphs also have questionable reliability, but that’s another story.)

Meanwhile, ITV has removed all mention of Sampson from its website. “That was Craig’s decision,” said Jantzen. “The department didn’t ask him; that was a personal decision. He told me he hasn’t done any work for them [ITV] in the last three years. Whether he is still involved is his personal business.”

The UVic campus security department is also reviewing its CVSA testing policy. Peter Zacour, who is in charge of that department, said that, as a result of my columns, “we are reviewing the process we are using to hire people.”

B.C. Corrections, meanwhile, appears to be staying the course. I asked the branch whether it is making or contemplating any changes to its CVSA testing policy:

“While the branch is not contemplating any changes at this time, we continue to review our hiring practices on an ongoing basis to ensure we are utilizing the best tools available which enable us to hire the most suitable candidates.”

Then I asked the acid question: “Does the branch believe that the device itself has any ability to detect truth or deception? If so, on what basis does it hold that belief?”

Here is the answer I received:

“CVSA is one of many tools that B.C. Corrections uses to assess the potential suitability of a candidate.”

Yes, yes, we know that.

“CVSA measures stress levels in an applicant’s responses, helping to identify inconsistencies during the interview process.”

Well, that’s the theory, for sure. What’s the evidence?

“There are multiple steps in B.C. Corrections’ screening process for new employees and the CVSA interview is intended to complement those other steps. The results of a CVSA interview are never the sole reason an applicant is disqualified.”

So, there you have it. A complete non-answer. I believe the branch made no attempt to answer the question because it can’t. There is little or no evidence to support the proposition that this device works, and much to refute it.

Alarmingly, the branch, by its own account, has used this device to disqualify applicants.

In May 2006, Tedd Howard, then warden of the Prince George Regional Correction Centre, wrote a letter of recommendation for ITV stating that, during the previous year, 52 applicants had been tested with the CVSA device.

“Of the 52 applicants, 16 were screened out as unsuitable that would otherwise have been hired,” he stated. The clear implication is that they were disqualified as a result of the CVSA tests.
(Howard has since been promoted to deputy provincial director of the branch, in charge of capital projects.)

I find this whole “truth verification” business quite Orwellian. That view is shared by Lorna Fadden, who obtained her doctorate in forensic linguistics from Simon Fraser University and now consults for law enforcement agencies and legal counsel on cases involving language evidence.

“There is no actual proven correlation between vocal stress and telling a truth or lie,” she told me in an earlier email.

She advised any applicant who suspects they have been rejected on the basis of the CVSA test to “lawyer up.” I think this is excellent advice.


dbaines@vancouversun.com


Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/Saanich+police+stop+using+controversial+detector+dev...
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Re: Canadian police and press believe in CVSA
Reply #8 - May 17th, 2011 at 7:48am
Mark & Quote Quote 
I agree, that CVSA is unable to differentiate truth from lies, but then neither is the polygraph. P/G mnfrs go to lenghts to clarify....it is not a lie detector and indeed Instructors do much the same.

It is the examiner that must determine if the data presented is potentially a lie or truth.

Certain DOD technologies can produce reliable data from which a skilled examiner can make a call of potential di or ndi.

Polygraph is one such technology, but, it is user unfriendly, is highly susceptible to 'artefacts' in tracings and simply takes too long to setup and administer.

By contrast AVSA Pro 1,8 eliminates 4 of the major examiner induced errors, specifically cadence control (onset delay).

Just keeping the record straight.

Good Luck
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Re: Canadian police and press believe in CVSA
Reply #9 - Aug 18th, 2011 at 6:38am
Mark & Quote Quote 
pepto wrote on Feb 20th, 2011 at 8:06pm:
Some earlier text links are no longer leading to content.

The text content is available @:

https://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=306153774041&topic=17791

The two videos that were linked in that text are:

http://insidedateline.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/09/16/5122593-dream-house-mystery...

NBC Dateline look at the Lindsay Buziak murder

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr3E_2KTxI0

ABC primetime expose of "Dr." Humble and CVSA

great thank you for link
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