Trials for AI lie detection at border patrol checkpoints are set to begin soon in the EU. The program, called iBorderCtrl, will run for six months at four border crossing points in Hungary, Latvia and Greece with countries outside the European Union, as reported by Gizmodo.
iBorderCtrl is an EU-funded project that uses AI in order to facilitate faster border crossings for travelers. The system has users fill out an online application and upload some documents, like their passport, before a virtual border guard takes over to ask questions. According to New Scientist, some of these questions include “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?” Travelers will answer while facing a webcam and the system will analyze and rate dozens of micro-gestures.
If iBorderCtrl determines the traveler is telling the truth, then they receive a QR code that will let them pass the border. If there is suspicion the traveler is lying, they’ll have biometric information taken — including fingerprinting, palm vein reading, and face matching — before being passed to a human agent who will review their information and make an assessment.
The program is still considered highly experimental, and in its current state, will not prevent anyone from crossing over a border. Early testing of a previous iteration only had a 76 percent success rate, but a member of the iBorderCtrl team told New Scientist that they are “quite confident” that can be raised to 85 percent.
Even if that goal is reached, it leaves a large amount of room for error. But that’s not entirely surprising as studies have shown that many facial recognition algorithms have significant error rate issues and bias. These systems have also raised flags with civil liberties groups like the ACLU’s Border Litigation Project, who worry they might lead to more widespread surveillance.