Voice analysis software doesn’t work

Remmeber the Department of Work and Pensions’ voice analysis software that was going to catch benefit cheats? Well guess what… it doesn’t work:

In short, apart from scaring a few people into behaving a little more honestly, we reckoned that the system itself wouldn’t actually do what its developers, and Israeli company called Nemesysco, claimed it would do.

Today I ran across some rather intriguing additional information about Nemesysco and its proprietor, Amir Lieberman, in the form of a rather unusual academic paper by two Swedish researchers,  Francisco Lacerda and Andrew Eriksson, published in 2007 in the International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, a magazine for voice experts working for the police and security services.

The paper is unusual, for one thing, because it appears to so enraged Lieberman that he’s written to the researchers’ publishers and indicated that Lacerda and Eriksson could be sued for libel if they publish any more papers on the same subject.

The paper, which reviews 50 years of research into the use of lie detectors, is entitled ‘Charlatanry in forensic speech science: A problem to be taken seriously’, which should give a clue as to precisely why Lieberman is rather upset about it, but there’s more to this than just a title, as the paper goes to pay particular attention to Lieberman/Nemesysco’s LVA (”Layered Voice Analysis”) system, which the DWP is using via a third party supplier.

It appears that the DWP’s supplier, Nemesysco, is a one-man operation run by Amir Lieberman. While Nemesysco says the LVA software is “based on 8,000 mathematical algorithms applied to 129 voice frequencies”, it appears that on the contrary it is 500 lines of amateurishly-written Visual Basic, knocked up by Mr Lieberman who has no background in mathematics, computer science, linguistics or indeed any other academic discipline:

The entire program code comprises no more than 500 lines of code. With respect to its alleged mathematical sophistication, there is really nothing in the program that requires any mathematical insights beyond very basic secondary school mathematics.

Mr Lapidus interviewed  Mr Liberman about his academic background and was told that he basically had none. He has no degree but has taken some courses in marketing at an Israeli open university. As we have explained above, the LVA is a simple program written in rather amateurishly used Visual Basic.

How much does this amateurishly written VB program cost? $25,000 a pop, although for that price Nemesysco generously throw in a laptop wioyth $2,000.

Conclusion: Amir Lieberman is either a fraudster or an incompetent (depending on whether he knows he’s selling rubbish). And the British government are an incompetent bunch of idiots for buying this rubbish.

UPDATE: more details.

This entry was posted in Britain, digital rights, Israel, war on civil liberties and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Voice analysis software doesn’t work

  1. Pingback: Top Stories and Blog Review - 8th February – Politics Unlimited | UK politics news

  2. Ohh know, is this true? I can’t believe it.. $25,000 is a big money for a program that doesn’t work?

  3. Dinesh Anand says:

    Dear Liar,

    There is no santity in your statement. Yes there are few people who are affected by the use of this software and perhaps you are among them.

    As you claim, you did not specify your claim or proved technically and just because you have some personal grudge with the promoters of Nemesysco, it will not make your personal views important. REMEMBER THE CAUSE THE LVA SOFTWARE IS WORKIN G FOR – THE IDENTIFICATION OF TRUTH AND I request you to please speak truth.

  4. Anonymous Coward says:

    I have also been a victim of threats of lawsuits by a Israeli company for telling some of their other customers that their technology is of poor quality. These guys seem awfully quick to anger, and apparently have a poor grasp of what, exactly, constitutes libel. All I did was state that I found their product ineffective (which it is) and that it caused an error on our website (which I proved to them that it did), and they were ready to sue me for making it public. Asshats! I am very skeptical of any Israeli company touting their *amazing* technological innovation these days.

  5. Jozsef says:

    Just another Israeli software scam. This is criminal and British are deserve it. I wander how many live had be ruined but this money hungry crooks? The scary part is that investigators are using this garbage.

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