Suspect Detection Systems, Inc. offers what it feels is one of the most significant developments in years for the prevention of terrorist attacks. The Israeli company has a way of detecting terrorist intentions long before any crime is ever committed. Although authorities may not be able to convict someone for their thoughts, they can take actions to prevent the person from carrying them out. In any event, it represents a major potential deterrent to terrorists or other people with criminal intent from entering a country where it is being used.

The system acts like a highly advanced lie detector. People are led to a futuristic looking oval booth, where they sit down facing a screen displaying instructions. They are asked to put their passport on a scanner that reads where they are from. They are then asked to place their hand on a special sensor that collects various biometric data from them as they are presented with a number or displayed questions in their own language. An audio presentation of the questions is also available. The person’s answers, together with the gathered physiological data, create a profile which is then instantly analyzed by the system to determine whether further questioning is warranted.

It sounds simple, but the automatic analysis is based upon sophisticated software and thousands of case studies from Israel and around the world. The makers claim 95% accuracy in correctly identifying people with threatening intentions. The experience that has gone into the machine is what makes it so formidable. Shabtai Shoval, SDS CEO, formerly with Israeli military intelligence, founded the company with Yeshavahu Horowitz, former head of the Israeli police polygraph division, and Amirim Levin, former deputy of Israel’s secret security service.

Shabtai Shoval indicated the challenges posed by terrorists that motivated the system’s development. “. . . international terrorism has gotten sophisticated enough to enable terrorists to get into the target country without any weapons and with their own identity. Therefore, they can then create a strategic terror attack from within, without carrying in any means with them.”

He went on to say, “If only you could have each person trying to enter the US go through a polygraph test with a specialist, you could prevent terrorists from entering - but of course that’s not realistic. But, can we create a machine that uses the basics of polygraph technology, that works automatically without the specialist, and takes only three minutes?”

“It’s like a robot selection process - we don’t make the decision to take someone out of line and put him in jail, we only take someone for further investigation. There’s no profile selecting and no human rights violations.”

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