Extreme or Overdue? Trials of AI lie-detector border guard underway in three EU states

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Russia Today: Trials are underway of an EU-funded scheme where AI lie-detector systems will be used to scan potentially dodgy travelers coming from outside the bloc. Too Orwellian? Or just the latest step towards smoother travel?

Commencing from November 1, the iBorderCtrl system will be in place at four border crossing points in Hungary, Latvia and Greece with countries outside EU. It aims to facilitate faster border crossings for travelers while weeding out potential criminals or illegal crossings.

Developed with €5 million in EU funding from partners across Europe, the pilot project will be operated by border agents in each of the trial countries and led by the Hungarian National Police.

Those using the system will first have to upload certain documents like passports, along with an online application form, before being assessed by the virtual, retina-scanning border agent.

The traveler will simply stare into a camera and answer the questions one would expect a diligent human border agent to ask, according to New Scientist.

“What’s in your suitcase?” and “If you open the suitcase and show me what is inside, will it confirm that your answers were true?”

But unlike a human border guard, the AI system is analyzing minute micro-gestures in the traveler’s facial expression, searching for any signs that they might be telling a lie.

If satisfied with the crosser’s honest intentions, the iBorderCtrl will reward them with a QR code that allows them safe passage into the EU.

Unsatisfied however, and travelers will have to go through additional biometric screening such as having fingerprints taken, facial matching, or palm vein reading. A final assessment is then made by a human agent.

Like all AI technologies in their infancy, the system is still highly experimental and with a current success rate of 76 percent, it won’t be actually preventing anyone from crossing the border during its six month trial. But developers of the system are “quite confident” that accuracy can be boosted to 85 percent with the fresh data.

READ MORE: Facial recognition database? Google’s new art selfie app sparks privacy concerns

However, greater concern comes from civil liberties groups who have previously warned about the gross inaccuracies found in systems based on machine-learning, especially ones that use facial recognition software.


In July, the head of London’s Metropolitan Police stood by trials of automated facial recognition (AFR) technology in parts of the city, despite reports that the AFR system had a 98 percent false positive rate, resulting in only two accurate matches.

The system had been labelled an “Orwellian surveillance tool,” by civil liberties group, Big Brother Watch.

10 COMMENTS

  1. As you get in your car, it will automatically check for alcohol in your system and report you to the cops. You then drive down the street and enter the TSA checkpoint to be facially scanned and compared against a nationwide database for criminal activity. After 30 minutes of waiting and several questions by TSA agents brandishing automatic weapons, you are finally allowed to go on your way only after submitting to DNA sampling. As you drive down the street you notice the plethora of video cameras monitoring your every move. Upon entering the local grocery store a camera scans your face and the AI program sifts through millions of photographs and DNA samples to identify that your are not a terrorist or a criminal threat or someone who is hostile to demockracy.
    You then amble on over to the cooler where you pick up a gallon of GMO milk and glyphosate tainted breakfast cereal for your children before they are taken from you by the Big brothers at CPS.
    You pay for your milk and cereal with a debit card(no cash allowed)and after submitting a thumbprint and retinal scan, you are allowed to pass through the barb wire fence to return to your car which will once again check for alcohol use.
    Enjoy your freedom in America.

  2. ACLU ran a test in July comparing photos of every member of the US Congress with a database of 25,000 mugshots and found 28 false matches incorrectly marked as criminals….. The system it’s a complete fail because not only 28 should be marked as criminals, ALL US Congress members should be marked as criminals !!!!! 😀

    • …”and found 28 false matches incorrectly marked as criminals”. This is called white washing of history. 28 spotted from 535 criminals is pretty poor for so called AI. Besides, even without AI technology one just need to look and sniff the members and Senators of the swampy congress and knows where “they” are coming from.
      The scent of the God of mammon prevails.

    • I remember that one .
      I’m shocked, shocked I tell you! After all we’ve been told about how great the government in Washedupton, D.C. is for the American people, only to find out there are 28 criminals in the U.S. Congress. shocked, I tell you!

  3. 76 % is attainable using astrology. 85 % is attainable using a variety of training methods. So, the AI getting 85% is not impressive.

    The 15% might contain .01 % actual problems, which can be overcome using a one week training regimen regarding facial movements. In other words, the progress for AI is easily countered by those who seek to. The benefit would be removal of bias, not accuracy. so far , but this stuff is going to take leaps and bounds in ways we can’t see yet, the elimination of passports and ID being one , and analysis of probable movement another

    • Does that mean the biggest liar of all, the orange Pinocchio turned American Prez can not visit these three EU countries anymore? That is discrimination, or is it not?
      JohnZ, maybe it is only a trial before the same equipment is installed on the southern borders in US. This way all incoming human traffic can be monitored and IF and only IF someone turns up who lives the lie better then the current head of state he or she can either become the next American qualified President or gets democratized by the “eternal” orange president and buried to fertilize in his backyard or the gardens of Mar Lago. The President does not allow opposition.

    • Unless Americans stand up and say no to this wild insane, headlong rush to AI, like GMOs, we will all suffer for it.
      Time for the American people to wake up….if they’re able to.