Government abandons benefit-cheat lie detectors
They do work, honest!
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." ®
you tell me: am i telling the truth?
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the last Labour government would've gone ahead anyway.
Can these people read?
So that's £2.16m wasted that could have been saved with 15 minutes web search and one phone call to one of the universities that the government is already funding?
Oh, and if they really had to waste millions, why couldn't they just burn the cash? I'm sure most taxpayers would prefer that to seeing Capita get it!
I was optimistic and thought this was going to be a 'Government listens to scientists' shock story but no its a 'Government pays over 2million to prove bears shit in the woods' story :-(