Counter-Terrorism: You Can't Lie to the Machine

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November 23, 2005: An Israeli firm has developed a new lie detector that requires only that the subject wear a telephone headset (to hear the questions, and answer with either "yes" or "no".) It takes about a minute to test each subject. The GK-1 has been tested at a Russian airport, and found that it did catch passengers who were up to no good. Like all lie detectors, the GK-1 device detects stress, so it also identified about twelve percent of the passengers as possibly guilty because there was stress in their voice when they answered questions. These are questioned further to eliminate them as passengers who are up to no good (terrorists, smugglers, or criminals on the lam.) The Russians want to use the device to screen for terrorists, but don't want to do it the Israeli way (which uses trained screeners, which are expensive and take time to train, and screening takes several minutes per passenger, on average.) For other countries, GK-1 equipment can be quickly deployed at airports when there is a higher risk of terror alert. Each GK-1 system costs about $30,000, although the price would come down as more were manufactured. The most expensive component is the software, and research required to develop it.

 


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