Airline passengers face lie detector tests
Adrian Blomfield / London Telegraph | April 6 2006
Millions of airline passengers travelling through Russia will soon have to take a lie detector test as part of new security measures.
The technology, to be introduced at Moscow's Domodedovo airport as early as July, is intended to identify terrorists and drug smugglers. If successful, it could revolutionise check-ins.
Passengers will pick up the handset of a "truth verifier" machine while they are asked questions. Apparently the machine, developed by an Israeli company, can even establish whether answers come from the memory or the imagination.
The technology is being used by some insurance companies in Britain to screen telephone claims for fraud.
"We know that this could be uncomfortable for some passengers but it is a necessary step," said Vladimir Kornilov, the IT director for East Line, which operates the airport.
At first, only passengers deemed suspicious by the FSB, the security service that succeeded the KGB, will take the test. But it will eventually encompass all passengers.
"If a person fails, he is accompanied by a guard to a cubicle where he is asked questions in a more intense atmosphere," Mr Kornilov said.
The machine asks four questions. The first is for full identity, while the second, unnerving in its Soviet-style abruptness, demands: "Have you ever lied to the authorities?" It then asks if the passenger is carrying weapons or narcotics.
To cut delays to a minimum, passengers will take the test after putting their shoes and baggage through the X-ray machines and before retrieving them. Officials insist that it will take between 30 seconds and a minute.