Feeds

Government abandons benefit-cheat lie detectors

They do work, honest!

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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." ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
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
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.