Friday, April 07, 2006

The Truth and Nothing but the Truth

I'm sure blogs will be having much fun with this story.

Starting this summer, Domodedovo airport in Moscow will begin using a "Truth Verifier" to screen passengers. From the Daily Telegraph:
The technology, to be introduced at Moscow's Domodedovo airport within a few months, is supposed to identify terrorists and drugs smugglers. The Truth Verifier is not the polygraph familiar from old spy thrillers.

Passengers will pick up the handset of a machine that apparently determines whether they are telling the truth. Its "layered-voice-analysis technology" system, developed by an Israeli firm, can even establish whether answers come from memory or the imagination. Similar technology is already being used by insurance companies in Britain to screen telephone claims for fraud.

Initially, only passengers deemed suspicious by Russian security will take the test, but it will soon encompass all passengers. Those who fail face a rigorous interrogation by the Verifier, whose accuracy increases to 98 percent with more extensive questioning and by its human colleagues.

The machine asks four questions. The first is for identity and the second demands: "Have you ever lied to the authorities?" It then asks if weapons or narcotics are being carried.
Being an American, I'm typically flying into Sheremetyevo (so maybe this is a case where I should be thankful that SVO is a dinosaur of an airport) so I won't have to answer "YES" to the ominous "Have you ever lied to the authorities?" question. I'm rather doubtful that they are going to be cornering every passenger that lied to a cop about how fast they were speeding, or fudged a little on their taxes (oops, did I say that?).

Initially, only passengers deemed suspicious by the FSB will take the test. That might mean you and I - you rebel blogger! I hope they will remember the
nice things I wrote about Putin yesterday, and don't pay too much attention to the fact that I think he cheated on his thesis (oops again). Given that it eventually will encompass all passengers - I wonder if Putin would be able to pass it. Isn't paying someone else to plagiarise your thesis "lying to authorities"?

The technology was initially developed by an Israeli company, so it has that whole Zionist plot element going for it also - conspiracy nuts will love that little detail.

The test will reportedly occur after putting your shoes and bags through the "x-ray" machine ... but before you put your shoes back on (so ... no runnink avay forr you, my leettle terrorist friend). The interesting part is what happens if you pull a Pinnochio (images of Shrek 2 come to mind):
"We know that this could be uncomfortable for some passengers but it is a necessary step," said Vladimir Kornilov, the IT director for East Line, which operates the airport.

"If a person fails, he is accompanied by a guard to a cubicle where he is asked questions in a more intense atmosphere," Mr Kornilov said.

A more intense atmosphere? I hope that doesn't involve the techniques used in Chechnya - I'm extremely allergic to electrical wires in my anus.

Obviously, I am having a bit of fun with this topic. Perhaps George Bush is lamenting the fact that he didn't think of it first ...

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