2019-02-05T16:58:07+01:00

According to this article by The Intercept some prisons in the U.S. are capturing the voices of incarcerated people’s voice to create new biometric databases with their “voice prints”. It seems like another example of the deployment of new technology with the involvement of private companies on more vulnerable groups of people, with all the usual problems of biometrics (eg. reliability) and automated decisions (eg. transparency, explainability).

The enrollment of incarcerated people’s voice prints allows corrections authorities to biometrically identify all prisoners’ voices on prison calls, and find past prison calls in which the same voice prints are detected. Such systems can also automatically flag “suspicious” calls, enabling investigators to review discrepancies between the incarcerated person’s ID for the call and the voice print detected. Securus did not respond to a request for comment on how it defined “suspicious.” The company’s Investigator Pro also provides a voice probability score, rating the likelihood that an incarcerated person’s voice was heard on a call.

Wouter Van Rossem
Wouter Van Rossem

My research interests include distributed robotics, mobile computing and programmable matter.