Converus, a Utah-based technology start up, has announced the development of a new lie detection technology, which the company asserts may help ease the security concerns surrounding the controversy over how to effectively vet Syrian refugees entering the country.
The company recently demonstrated its refugee-vetting tool to officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, State Department, Secret Service, Department of Defense, National Security Agency and others, as well as to several members of Congress.
EyeDetect works by monitoring involuntary eye movement, such as pupil size and blinking, in order to detect deception via true or false questions. The process is designed to be fast, with Converus claiming that the exam is finished in roughly five minutes. This stands in stark contrast with the standard polygraph test, which can take up to 90 minutes or longer to generate results.
EyeDetect provides a minimally intrusive platform for applications such as business risk management, law enforcement, and government.
“Everyone is talking about the need to vet refugees, but no one has a viable solution — especially for refugees who don’t have any personal identification records,” said Converus President and CEO Todd Mickelsen. “We’re confident the US government will see this technology can help keep our country safe. EyeDetect has been tested, it works, and it’s available to implement immediately.”
Technology such as EyeDetect is not likely to be a silver bullet that removes all potential risks associated with refugee vetting. However, such a technology could prove to be a powerful tool in strengthening the refugee vetting process, especially in the wake of recent incidents like the San Bernardino attack.
Scrutiny regarding the US refugee vetting process has skyrocketed in the past several months after it was discovered that one of the alleged shooters in the San Bernardino attack, Tashfeen Malik, came to the US on a fiancé visa.
Mickelsen said the EyeDetect exam would address such questions as: “Have you committed any acts of terrorism?” “Do you have ties to ISIS, al Qaeda or any terrorist organizations?” or “Is your intention for entering the country to commit terrorism?”
"San Bernardino terrorist Tashfeen Malik passed three US government background interviews before receiving a visa. Had an EyeDetect test been administered at the beginning of the application process, she likely would have been identified and rejected before having background interviews," said Mickelsen.
A team of scientists from the University of Utah developed the EyeDetect technology over the course of ten years.