Lie detector tests at EU airports? They’re coming

Travellers heading to Europe may soon face a lie detector test on arrival at several airports, powered by artificial intelligence.

Called iBorderCtrl, the new project is backed by the European Union and will see lie detector tests installed at airports in Hungary, Latvia and Greece for a test run this month, USA Today reports.

Travellers from outside the EU will be asked to answer questions from a computer-animated border guard through a webcam, which analyses micro expressions for potential lies.

Human border guards will oversee the process and step in if required.

Passengers deemed “low risk” will only have to answer basic questions, while those deemed “high risk” will receive a more detailed screening – although it was not elaborated as to what constitutes these categories.

Some have criticised the program, saying it treats passengers like criminals without justifiable cause. CNN reports that written consent must be given before testing.

Frederike Kaltheuner, data program lead at Privacy International, told CNN he thought it was a “terrible idea”.

“This is part of a broader trend towards using opaque, and often deficient, automated systems to judge, assess and classify people,” he said.

He added that traditional lie detectors had problems with accuracy and that no amount of AI could fix that.

While it was hoped the program would have an 85 per cent success rate, Kaltheuner said that wasn’t good enough.

“Even seemingly small error rates mean that thousands of people now have to prove that they are honest people, just because some software said they are liars,” he said.

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