EU May Integrate AI Lie Detectors on its New Border Check Systems

| June 21, 2024
EU May Integrate AI Lie Detectors on its New Border Check Systems

British travelers could face intense questioning from an unusual border control officer—an artificial intelligence (AI) lie detector system.

The European Union (EU) reportedly plans to use AI as one of its border security measures.

The advanced AI software will analyze facial expressions, body language, and other behavioral signals when screening arrivals from the UK.

It could be implemented during border checks at all airports and ferry terminals.

According to The Mail, the high-tech AI lie detectors would be part of the EU’s new border control measures.

These are the Entry-Exit System (EES) and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).

The EES will take effect on 6 October 2024, and the ETIAS will follow in 2025.

Both travel programs require non-EU visitors to provide biographic and biometric data to enter Schengen countries.

How AI lie detectors work

According to the report, travelers may have to complete an online interview with a computer-animated avatar before going to the EU.

During this interview, travelers will be asked about the purpose of their travel and other personal details.

The AI system would analyze facial expressions, body language, and eye movements to determine truthfulness during interviews.

If the software detects signs of suspicious or deceptive behavior, it could flag that traveler for additional screening by human immigration officers.

The EU has already tested similar AI lie detection technology in pilot programs codenamed iBorderCtrl and Trespass.

iBorderCtrl is a €4.5 million ($5.1 million) EU-funded project tested between 2016 and 2019 in Greece, Hungary, and Latvia.

Scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University developed the technology, and their firm, Silent Talker Ltd., is marketing it commercially.

The TRESPASS Consortium piloted the software and tested another lie detector software with the same name until November 2021.

During those trials, the experimental systems monitored participants’ physical reactions as animated border agents asked them questions.

Some of the trials even scanned people’s social media accounts in an effort to determine if they might be a security risk.

However, using social media content for such screening has raised concerns from civil rights advocates about free speech violations.

New EU entry rules for non-EU nationals

The potential for AI lie detector screening comes as the EU prepares to implement stricter entry rules.

Two new border check systems will put greater scrutiny on UK citizens and non-EU nationals visiting Europe.

The EES requires biometric data from all non-EU travelers and will store fingerprints and facial scans in an EU database.

This will be used to record the entry and exit of non-EU travelers from the Schengen Zone instead of manually stamping their passports.

On the other hand, the ETIAS is similar to the United States (US) visa waiver program and the UK’s Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA).

Non-visa nationals must obtain an ETIAS before any visits to the Schengen Zone.

To get an ETIAS, applicants must complete an online form answering questions about their background and trip details.

An AI lie detector software could be integrated into the online application process, virtually interrogating travelers as they provide the required information.

Ethical concerns about AI lie detectors

Using artificial intelligence to detect lies in human behavior has raised much criticism and skepticism.

The EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act is designed to ensure AI is used safely and fairly.

The goal is to protect people’s rights and privacy while still allowing useful AI technologies to develop.

It divides AI systems into risk levels, with some considered high-risk, like those used to recognize emotions.

Still, critics argue that the EU’s AI regulation still allows its use in law enforcement and migration control, as per a report on

Some experts have dismissed AI lie detectors as unreliable “pseudoscience” that could lead to unfair discrimination.

Patrick Breyer, a German member of the European Parliament, argued that even trained human experts cannot reliably detect lies based solely on facial expressions or body language.

He warned that AI lie detectors could unfairly target people with disabilities and anxiety disorders.

It could also discriminate against different cultural interpretations of body language.

There are also concerns that such AI systems could show bias against certain ethnic groups or nationalities based on the data they were trained on.

Many critics view it as an unethical overreach of invasive surveillance technology.

EU officials have defended the trials as necessary to strengthen border security and identify potential threats.