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Federal judge approves computer voice stress analysis to monitor sex offenders
A recent ruling from a U.S. Federal court judge may require sex offenders to submit Computer Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA) examinations throughout the post-release supervision process.
Northern District of New York Chief Judge Norman Mordue ruled that the CVSA examinations are comparable to the polygraph examinations that are accepted as means of monitoring sex offenders under post-release supervision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
"As an investigative and decision support tool the CVSA has proven itself to be invaluable to law enforcement," said Lt. Kenneth Merchant, a member of the Erie, PA police department and legislative affairs director for the National Association of Computer Voice Stress Analysts (NACVSA).
CVSA technology is designed to function like a verbal lie detector test. The computer system records and analyzes voice samples to detect the presence of stress and tension in a person’s voice. The presence of certain amounts of stress in the voice can alter the vocal pattern and serve as an indication of deception.
A recent DoD survey of law enforcement officials that used CVSA technology revealed that 86 percent found it to be “very” or “extremely” accurate. This survey also revealed that CVSA had “a very small error rate” of less than half a percent and that the majority of the deceptive results were validated by obtaining confessions.
CVSA technology is currently in use throughout various law enforcement agencies across the country in Miami, Atlanta, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Nashville. Some of the testimony during Chief Judge Mordue’s court ruling also mentioned that nearly 1,800 law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. have CVSA technology. Law enforcement agencies use the technology to screen candidates applying to work for the police department, to monitor offenders, and to pursue criminal investigative work.