That’s what Evelyn Venable who voiced the Blue Fairy told Pinocchio about liars getting caught. But that was in the Disney classic. Now it’s a little more high tech. The newest method is Voice Stress Analysis (VSA), a technology with the same objective as the polygraph: to determine whether the subject being tested is lying. It’s currently being used in the U.S. by law enforcement, and you may even have seen it on CSI (take your pick, Las Vegas, New York, or Miami).
But VSA is being used in the U.K., for a different purpose: to root out benefit cheats. There’s a big media buzz about it in the U.K. The Deception Blog’s post, Using Voice Analysis to Detect Benefit Cheats, discusses the media coverage of a pilot project there to use VSA on benefit applicants. The buzz is not about whether benefit claimants should be forced to take lie detector tests, but about the claim that the pilot project is a success.
The technology is being tested on people claiming local housing or council tax benefits. An early review exposed 126 benefit cheats in just three months, saving one local authority £110,000 or approximately $221,000. The government claims the technology also improves services.
And, of course, there are two obvious questions:
First, does it work? It depends on who you ask, but like polygraph examinations, VSI is not admissable in court as evidence.
Second, is it coming to a call center here soon?