iBorderCtrl is a new lie detector project being tested in European airports at immigration checkpoints in Hungary, Latvia and Greece. They all border countries outside the EU.
The project will “analyze travelers’ micro-expressions to gauge whether they may be lying.”
Passengers entering from outside the EU will be asked to consent to the process and then asked questions “by a virtual border guard avatar.” A computer will decide whether it thinks the passenger is lying, and if so the tone of voice of the electronic border official should get “more skeptical.”
They might as well hire Wonder Woman, have her tie up passengers with her golden lariat, and force them to tell the truth.
- Polygraphing is a subjective pseudoscience that relies on the beliefs of the questioner. Here they replace it with a computer, which means it relies on the rules of its programmer. The US Supreme Court has written that there is “simply no consensus that polygraph evidence is reliable” and of course it generates many false positives.
- It measures deviations in physical states, not lies — such as nervousness, fear, and confusion — precisely the things many people experience at border crossings.
- Terrorists can be trained in countermeasures. You’re only going to catch people who don’t know what they’re doing, in other words lie detectors only detect the lies of the people you’re least concerned with lying.
- The best advice for taking a lie detector test is to get a good night’s sleep and show up rested and relaxed. If this technique spreads then a polygraph may just help identify who flew business class.
People who are used to lying do well on polygraphs. People from oppressive regimes do especially well, since they compartmentalize their public and private personas. This isn’t going to catch who they think it’s going to catch.
Similarly US airport security has uses human behavior detection even though the government cedes the program has no scientific basis whatsoever.
Indeed the ‘checklist’ they use considers criticism of the TSA to be a sign you’re a terrorist.