Don’t make benefits claimants take lie detector tests says TUC

The Trades Union Congress has called for the Department for Work and Pensions to abandon plans to use voice stress analysis in benefit centres (press release, 4 May). Quite right too. They say:

The Government should abandon plans to trial lie detector tests for people claiming benefits because the accuracy of the technology has not been scientifically proven, and individuals with genuine cases are likely to be discouraged from applying for the help they desperately need, says the TUC today (Friday).

[...] a TUC briefing ‘Lies, damned lies and lie detectors’ says that the science just isn’t there to back up the technology, and any use of the software when dealing with benefit claimants means that the innocent are just as likely to fall foul of the system as the genuinely guilty.

The TUC says that the problem with the lie detection technology that the DWP intends to use is that it cannot detect lies. Voice risk analysis and lie detectors can only detect, with varying accuracy, changes in the body, such as heart or breathing rate, or any changes in the tone, pitch or tremors in the voice.

The TUC has published a briefing note here (warning: word document).

See also:

Hat tip to Enrica Dente’s Lie Detection email list for picking the story up first.

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