HMRC/UKBA to use Covert Lie Detectors

Our wonderfully honest and truthful agencies of HMRC/UKBA are according to Dr Hussan Agail of Bradford University going to trial the good professors lie detector equipment at a UK airport. lt is going to be covertly done in order to fight terrorism.

Well that's what the doctor says now but in 2008 he said it was to detect smugglers and drug dealers. l shall write to Dr Agail and suggest he try it out on the HMRC/UKBA officers first and then publish the results. Then maybe he could try it out at the House of Commons? .... loads of subjects there for him!

How does it work? ‘When a person is being deceitful, when a person lies, there is increased brain activity and this is reflected in the face through involuntary facial expressions and blood flow,’ said Prof Ugail.

Humans were known to have a limited repertoire of around 46 facial expressions, known as Facial Action Units, he said.
These were used when programming the software for the facial lie detector.
The thermal camera focused on the region around the eye because the skin is thinner there, making its temperature changes easier to spot. The camera was capable of detecting a warming in the face of 0.1C.

"Sounds good eh? He's tested it out on 40 (yes, 40) volunteers who he asked to answer a series of questions truthfully and then lie ... he got an amazing 70% success! Yep, 70% compared with the traditional lie detector that has a 90% success rate. He thinks he can achieve 90%! Wow, well done Prof! ... and you want to trial this 70% efficient equipment (according to the Prof) at an airport? Err, no 100% then Prof?

The Prof also things that our wonderfully truthful and honest HMRC/UKBA Officers are "very good at spotting people carrying contraband and analysing facial expressions" (2008) but by 2011 he thinks "Border Control Officers are very good at spotting liars!"  Prof you should be a comedian. No, l retract that ... you are one! 

Our good Prof then goes on to say that he hopes to develop his equipment to detect Alzeimers and dementia. Back to testing it out on HMRC/UKBA Officers and the House of Commons then Prof? :)


  1. He can't make his mind up what its for but he did get £500k to research it! Wants money off Home Office now!

  2. I wonder if it's at all affected by people with a very good poker face and people who tend to feel guilty about things they only thought of doing. For that matter I wonder if it's any good with stroke victims and people who've had a lot of botox.

  3. a 1 in 3 failure rate? ffs it's bloody useless!

  4. Tossing a coin is 50% accurate. Cheaper too, even if they use a fresh coin every time!

  5. There is no chance that UKBA would allow an effective lie detector on their premises. Imagine the embarrassment when a Sked accidentally walks past it!

    But a fake one would be useful, especially the with override button for the red light and beeper.

    It only needs a fake scientist to give it credibility.
    And an uncritical media, keen to cut-and-paste free press releases without having to think.
    And a copious supply of stressed, tired, irritable passengers.

    Prepared wrongdoers, of course, will answer the harmless calibration questions while thinking of snakes or spiders, or whatever. Unlike cooperative student test subjects.

    The stupidity of our rulers is truly staggering.

  6. A professor who would quote accuracy figures, without specifying "false positives" or "false negatives"; is probably a professor of Ancient Norse Mythology.

    A single machine-generated false positive when suspecting a cross-border shopper of smuggling is outrageous. A single false negative when looking for suicide bombers is a disaster.

    A disaster for the plane, that is. But it would save the life of the security man who otherwise would have attempted to search the bomber.

  7. Since when do the UKBA need polygraphicals?

    -"Have you got any tobacco?"
    -"You are a smuggler!"
    -"No, no I'm not!!"
    -"You are LYING and I fancy your car"

    Easy. No technology needed. A UKBA agent can ALWAYS tell a lie.

  8. Zaphod ... just how exactly does a UKBA officer arrest a suicide bomber/shooter terrorist? :) ... and don't say 'very carefully' :)

  9. Is this the same system the DWP were supposed to be using to zero in on lying benefit claimants?

    If so, they quickly ditched the idea.

  10. Not same but similar. That's to say the science is unproven at best but both are useless tbh.

  11. Off to Holland tonight...with a fistful of shining euros, a bucketful of Babylon and my SOT clutched to my breast.

    "Half a kilo, half a kilo, half a kilo onwards...into the Sked Shed rode..."

  12. Oh and I will of course be proudly wearing my badge. Just wish the t shirts were ready.

  13. On the ferry in the INDOOR SMOKING LOUNGE which has free, if slooOOOow, WIFI! Stena prices in the 'duty free' don't seem too horrific-a little over Dutch prices to be sure but they seem well stocked with UK brands and even do a kilo (20x50g) pack of GV at 128 euros...which works out about ₤6 a 50g pouch ....if the SBC math is right.

  14. HQ calling SBC, HQ calling SBC, come in SBC.

    £6 per 50g is upper limit so you doing good. You have permission to deal with Skedites anyway you choose. :)


"In the eyes of the Tribunal the review letter contained several preconceptions, prejudgments and non-sequiturs"

"the absurdity of this reason is demonstrated by simply stating it"

"We therefore find that Mr Sked misdirected himself as to the Policy in carrying out the review and his decision is therefore one that no reasonable review officer could have arrived at."

... commonly known here at N2D as 'Skeds' ... that is to say these are Judges comments regarding UKBA Review Officer Ian Sked's reasons for rejecting peoples appeals against seizures.

Comments are now moderated to keep out spam and those with malicious intent. The author of this blog is not liable for the content of any comments ... period!