Feeds

Government abandons benefit-cheat lie detectors

They do work, honest!

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

The government has abandoned plans to use a telephone-based lie detector to catch benefits fiddlers, following criticism by scientists that the technology is no more reliable than tossing a coin.

Analysis of "Voice Risk Analysis" (VRA) software did not conclude it is effective, the Department of Work and Pensions said.

"The evidence is not compelling enough to recommend the use of VRA within DWP," it explained.

The trials, begun under the previous government, cost £2.16m. A total of 24 local authorities were involved in the most recent batch of trials, and 23 reported results.

The software, supplied by Israeli firm Nemesysco via Capita, measured fluctuations in benefits claimants' voices to calculate whether they were "low risk" or "high risk", requiring further investigation.

Out of 12 authorities who tested the system during benefits reviews, only one reported it was a success. Only three out of nine who used it on calls by new claimants said it was successful.

Results from one out of two authories testing it on claimaints reporting a change of circumstances were jusdged successful.

The poor results will come as no surprise to the authors of a 2007 scientific study on VRA, who said it is based on "charlatanry".

"No qualified speech scientist believes in this nonsense," the authors, two professors of language science, wrote.

The Department of Work and Pensions said: "At no stage did the evaluation carried out by the Department explicitly consider the effectiveness of the technological aspects of VRA." ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.