Voice biometrics takes criminals to task

The standard police practice of using a line-up to help identify a criminal could become a thing of the past, if a new voice biometrics solution designed for use in forensic and criminal investigations from Nuance Communications takes off. The new tool, Nuance Forensics, employs patented voice biometrics technology to assist in confirming or denying the identity of individuals based on audio files that are used during investigations. 

Unlike less precise identification techniques, such as a lineup, wherein suspects are identified based on a witness’ visual memory, voice biometrics delivers accurate and unique identifying characteristics, akin to DNA and fingerprint evidence, to help assist investigations.

With Nuance Forensics, law enforcement and forensic officials no longer need to waste scarce investigative resources listening to hours of audio recordings collected during investigations. Instead, Nuance Forensics pinpoints the conversations of interest by filtering out from the audio recordings those that do not include the suspect’s voice, accelerating the investigations and allowing law enforcement to focus on protecting citizens and fighting crime.

Nuance Forensics is also able to analyse audio evidence for the purposes of prosecution or defense of a suspect. Forensic experts, who once had to rely solely on the manual analysis of voice evidence, can now use voice biometric technology to accurately analyse these recorded voices entered into evidence. The data obtained through this forensics analysis with voice biometrics includes comprehensive and forensic standards-based reports, such as log likelihood ratios and tippet plots, to empirically establish the strength of the audio evidence in court.

“Nuance Forensics is truly transformative technology for law enforcement officials and forensic experts. They now have a powerful tool to assess voice evidence,” said Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager for the Nuance Enterprise Division. 

“Built upon proven, patented voice biometric technologies that are used worldwide, Nuance Forensics makes it easier to work with audio evidence during investigations as well as in court, and will allow officials to spend more time focusing their energies on what they do best – preventing and prosecuting criminal activity. Just as importantly, the same technologies will ensure that innocent people are effectively cleared of wrongdoing through empirical and accurate analysis of voice evidence.”

Beyond voice biometric algorithms, Nuance Forensics is also equipped with algorithms to automatically identify dialect and language spoken in a recording, as well as the gender of the speaker(s). These capabilities enable investigators to identify relevant conversations without the need for scarce language interpreters or manual review of countless hours of recordings.

Nuance Forensics is based on over a decade of expertise, research and development in voice biometrics from Nuance, in close collaboration with leading forensic labs. 

Large organisations around the world are currently using Nuance voice biometrics technology to automate fraud detection for their contact centres and improve their customer service through accelerating account access by eliminating passwords, PINs, and security questions and even automating password reset processes for employees.