Email privacy a hallmark of a free society

As encrypted email services like Lavabit shut their doors, the importance of email privacy becomes even more clear writes Neil Richards, JD, privacy law expert and professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis, in a recent CNN opinion piece.

Research casts doubt on voice-stress lie detection technology

Photo by Joe Angeles / WUSTL PhotoThe Truster hand-held “Emotion Reader.”Voice-stress analysis, an alternative to the polygraph as a method for lie detection, is already widely used in police and insurance fraud investigations. Now, however, it is being touted as a powerful and effective tool for an array of new applications — everything from screening potential terrorists in the nation’s airports to catching wayward spouses in messy marital disputes. Despite its booming popularity, recent federally sponsored studies have found little evidence that existing voice-stress technologies are capable of consistently detecting lies and deceptions. “You could have gotten better results by flipping a coin,” says Washington University in St. Louis psychologist Mitchell S. Sommers, lead investigator on a recent voice-stress study.

American businesses play critical and costly role in global war on terrorism

WeidenbaumThe economic power of American businesses is playing a key role in the war on terrorism: helping cut off the flow of money to terrorist groups, producing anti-terrorist equipment, screening employees and visitors entering company facilities, manufacturing the medicines to respond to biological and chemical attacks, and making the weapons used by our armed forces in the fight. Nevertheless, such responses often raise the cost of production and act like a new tax on private enterprise, suggests Washington University in St. Louis economist Murray Weidenbaum.