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back to article London council to use lie detectors to finger benefit cheats

Lambeth Council has done a deal with KPMG Capita* to use voice recognition software to finger cheats contacting call centres to sort out benefits. Everyone contacting the centre will be told they are being scanned and will then be asked 19 questions."Voice Risk Analysis" will then finger voices it considers suspicious. The …

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Anonymous Coward

Can we stop using the word "finger" please?

That is all.

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Anonymous Coward

easier and faster benefit claiming ...

.. for professional cheaters

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Sorry, could you speak up.

I wonder how the detector gets on with a trained speaker?

Or someone with a speech impediment?

Or is it based on the Queen's English or yer averidge spokin wurd?

How does it handle local dialects?

Or forriners?

Feck, Arse, Drink, Girls etc.

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sold one device from the seventies

I hate to say it but the scams on them the microtremor thing is a big hoax this is older than the nigerian advanced fee scam how did this get in.

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RE: London council to use lie detectors to finger benefit cheats

"London council to use lie detectors to finger benefit cheats"

New type of p0rn fetish?

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Do they even have to turn it on?

Won't this put a lot of people off if they think they're taking a lie detector test on the phone, regardless of whether it works or not?

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Anonymous Coward

UK media in London-centric shock !

Heard this news 2 weeks ago. Birmingham City Council have already sent letters out informing claimants of the system.

Personally, as long as a questionable/negative result is merely used to direct investigators attention to one case over another, then I can't see a problem ... it's not that different to investigating every <n>th case where <n> is decided upon by the daily horoscope etc etc etc.

Problem is, this being the UK, it won't be long before we skip the "investigation" phase (as that requires people and money) and jump straight to "you failed the lie-detector, so you can wave goodbye to your benefits).

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Dan

Stress?

So, the KPMG software is likely to flag up any call where the claimant is told something they don't want to hear, surely?

Sorry sir, you are not entitled to benefit x because you did not correctly fill in form v1256(b) section 9 question 2a...

But, but...!!

Sorry sir, blah blah, stress goes through roof...

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how to add more confusion....

yesh. i shink it is a wery good idea to shtop benefit frod...cos i jusht got out of the dentisht, had a tootsh taken out, and now how am i gonna get my gyro?????

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Stress meters are "lie detectors"

In this day in age, it amazes me how many seemingly intelligent people actually consider stress to be symbolic of lying, and how they figure measuring stress can detect when a person is lying. Mind you, they're not actually measuring stress. They're measuring a person's physical and physiological reactions, which may or may not be stress-related. What's the difference between someone becoming stressed when lying and worrying about getting caught, and someone telling the truth but worried that the machine will flag them as lying anyway? Many people are stressed/nervous when speaking to a person of authority to begin with. I, myself, don't like to talk on the phone to anyone, so I'll almost always sound stressed/nervous. There's a reason the courts (at least the U.S. courts, to my knowledge) consider "lie detector" tests to be inadmissible as evidence -- because they're not accurate. They flag a lot of innocent people as lying, and they let the true criminals go (the ones who know how to control their reactions).

Personally, I would question whether this is a way to claim that all people requesting benefits are lying, and thus not dishing out any benefits.

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Not quite Snakeoil but...

I suspect they're using the Israeli company Nemesysco's "Layered Voice Analysis" software which has been in use by some of the Insurance companies since 2003.

(see http://www.nemesysco.com/technology-lvavoiceanalysis.html)

as opposed to the "Voice Stress Analysis" software

(see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voice_stress_analysis)

You can even download software claiming to do the job here:

http://www.lie-detection.com/

Neither of the voice analysers are quite snakeoil but they don't work very well. That is to say, they do work, but not in any sense that could be legally useful, or more importantly, as a valuable biometric security tool capable of spotting malintent.

The best claim they can make for the technology is that it identifies stress in the voice with significantly better than chance reliability. But it cannot identify the source of stress, so inferring anything at all from the stress is of limited use.

It still has far too many false positives and false negatives to be used, for example, to sustain a fraud prosecution. All it can do is warn a human in the loop that it might be a good idea to look more carefully at the callers' claims.

Nevertheless, ANNOUNCING ITS EXISTENCE - and making people believe that there is a tool which can detect their lies - can have a useful deterrent effect. And that is what is really going on.

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Was this lie-detection software tested on the KPMG salesman?

Was this lie-detection software tested on the KPMG salesman? Surely this is Lambeth TRYING to spend money on flaky software.

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Wonderful method of making the professional scammer's job easier

Neither the polygraph nor the VSA/LVA systems detect anything unusual when someone who spends all their time lying, is lying. All it takes to fool the devices is a lack of conscience (and perhaps a couple of shots of Dutch courage, for the novice scammer).

So the people who are "caught" by this system will be the harried Mums with a few rowdy children in the flat, and the worried parents who need help due to unusual expenses.

Those who make a living at "playing the system" will be given a free pass, and those with legitimate stress in their lives will be shown the red card.

Only a heartless professional bureaucrat, possibly one who gets a kickback from the vendor, would have even considered this system.

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Cool.

Now all the social misfits and scroungers can have a free lie detector test rather than having to go on Jeremy Kyle.

"Go on! Ask my Gav if 'e nobbed my sister"

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Lambeth

Lambeth? Am I the only one old enough to know about Lambeth? I used to live there, what a bunch of caber throwers they were, plus ca change eh?.

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Anonymous Coward

Can we please ...

... make use of this system for the Presidential debates? It could add a much-needed dose of hilarity to the proceedings.

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Voice alteration :-)

I wonder what a cheap telephone voice transformer would do to such a system? Call in sounding like a Chipmunk or a throat-cancer patient. Or use a speech synthesiser for a laugh :-)

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Re: using the system for political debates

Sadly, as pointed out above, habitual liars generally won't trigger the system.

Ergo, it is useless for political debates :-(

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Anonymous Coward

Lambeth are still mad, just mad government loyalists now

Lambeth Labour Party are as mad as they ever were, just mad Labour rightists now. This quackery makes them look so tough and hard ya know - strutting round the borough - ban this, ban that, asbos here and there..

Has anyone suggested using polygraphs for their recent ALMO announcements? (support votes were counted as "don't knows" as well as "yes"). Tests for crack in the Council chamber are long overdue..

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Not just sheep in vac...

How about a standard of measurement that measures how much government spend to fix problems against how much these problems cost in the first place?

To use this story as an example:

If the total cost of benefit fraud for the council is (all costs in New Zealand Dollars, of course) $1,000,000 per year and the voice recognition system costs $100,000,000 to set up and $500,000 per year to maintain. Then the system can be said to have an initial cost of 100 Beneyears and half a Beneyear there after.

This could be applied to all sorts of things.

Jack

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Anonymous Coward

Test the council

Personally I don't care if my taxes go to give the odd person in need, who doesn't technically qualify, 55 quid a week.

If we really want to encourage the conscientious use of tax payers money, run lie detection tests on the government, local and national. They bilk us for significantly more.

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Anonymous Coward

For gods sake.....

......anyone who has ever claimed the dole will tell you that it is stressfull, anoying and such a runaround that this system will only work if we pick out the people who don't sound stressed, as this would indicate them to be lying scumbags.

All this for £55 quid a week! ffs

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Anonymous Coward

Two words, second is off

If I phone the council and instead of being able to conduct my business they ask me 19 pointless questions, they'll be told where to go pretty sharpish, and I'm likely to turn up in the offices in person, with an axe.

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scourge of society....

what a brilliant idea it is..... how on earth didn't anyone think of it before??

Coming from a government that sold us a war based on lies, that promotes in its own capital the biggest arm fair in the world, and an economy growing on the back of the most impoverished nations of the planet, surely the unemployed are the scourge of this society, are a bunch of lazy liars and should be treated as such.In the meantime, i shall myself fake my C.V, lie about my experience, and go and work for a company that contributes directely or indirectely to global warning, poverty, wars etc.....

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I don't have a problem with it

1) I don't live in London

2) I work for a living.

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Anonymous Coward

Readers of AE van Vogt saw this coming ..

The lie detector in the "Nul-A" stories from A E van Vogt is call a Lambeth cone.

Coincidence, prediction or is someone in Lambeth reading a lot of SF?

:-)

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Ridiculous

"What is this? 20 questions or summink?"

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Ru
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Can we please also lose

All the people complaining about the words used by the reg? Honestly, you've made a bad precedent with mobe and lappy.

Don't let boffin and finger go the same way.

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