Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Israeli company threatens to sue Swedish scientists

This might appear a bit off-topic, but it is perhaps just one example on how the Israeli military-industrial complex conducts its business. Two Swedish scientists, both professors of phonetics, has written an article titled Charlatanry in forensic speech science: A problem to be taken seriously. In their article they point to problems of accuracy in results when using lie detectors. I'm not an expert in phonetics (in fact, I didn't even know that it was an academic discipline of its own until today), but the fact that lie detectors cannot provide 100% accurate results is rather wellknown.

Nevertheless the Israeli company Nemesysco (geez, how do come up with names like that?), which holds patents on lie detectors, has sent threating letters to the magazine in which the two scientists are warned of lawsuits if the two scientists continue to argue their positions in public. Not that any sane court in the world would so bluntly stifle academic debate and research, but the pattern of behaviour is still worrying.

In Israel, the 'security industry' has grown markedly over the past years. The reputation of Israel as a though, brutal and technologically advanced police state is being used as a corporate brand to market repressive technologies to police, military and security services around the world. (CNN's Business Traveller ran a show back in 2006 on 'doing business in Israel', which partly dealt with this sector) It's high time to call for boycott not only for fruits and vegetables, but also demand breaking the cooperation between our police and military institutions and the Israeli 'security industry'.

News links: DN1, 2, 3


  1. I have to give you my own experiences of this!

    In 2004, I studied linguistics at the university of Stockholm and one of the part course was phonetics.
    Our teacher came in to this thing about this lie detector thingie that supposedly told that a person was lying by analysing the sound of the speech (the phonetics).

    Like you say, the idea that you can catch someone with a lie by analyzing the sound of someone's speech is downright BS since lying has nothing whatsoever on how you'are sounding when talking.

    Also, which is not a surprise, this BS device was invented in collaboration with the israeli army.

    It's a mystery how you can fool people this easily.

  2. Gosh, you really had a point there - Nemesysco, Nemesis...