Europe

Germany to use voice recognition to identify migrant origins

  • 17 March 2017
  • From the section Europe
Woman with a microphone (file picture) Image copyright AFP
Image caption The software enables German immigration officers to determine a migrant's country of origin

Germany is to begin testing new voice recognition software that can tell which country migrants without documentation come from, officials say.

The Federal Office for Migrants and Refugees said the automated new system would begin within two weeks.

But it will not be ready for routine use for at least a year and there are doubts over its effectiveness.

The aim is to detect Arabic-speaking migrants claiming to be Syrian to increase their chances of asylum.

Linguists argue it would be impossible for an automatic machine to be completely accurate, as language and vocabulary are ever-changing.

Officials told the AP news agency that the new software will run alongside techniques already in use to establish a person's identity.

A variety of data will be examined, including the asylum-seeker's documentation, before a final decision is made. If necessary, officials will also seek expert opinion.

Since 1998, Germany has used a less sophisticated form of speech analysis to assess claims of origin, Deutsche Welle reported.

The new software is similar to the voice authentication technology used by banks and insurance companies and is capable of differentiating between dialects.

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