It’s All in the Eyes: Screening Refugees for Terrorists

By Converus, Special for  USDR

Converus, Utah technology start-up, says its new lie detection technology called “EyeDetect” is what the U.S. government needs to screen Syrian refugees and foreign nationals. Converus was in Washington, D.C.recently to demonstrate this refugee-vetting tool to officials from the FBI, State Department, Secret Service, Department of Defense, National Security Agency and others, as well as to several members of  Congress.

With 100,000 Syrian refugees currently in the U.S., and plans to admit 10,000 soon, there is increasing fear over the government’s ability to vet refugees and prevent terrorists from  infiltrating.

EyeDetect monitors involuntary eye behavior — like pupil dilation and blink rate — to detect deception while true/false questions are answered on a computer. The 30-minute test provides a “truthful” or “deceptive” score in five minutes. Polygraph exams, the long-time standard for lie detectors, require a trained examiner, take at least 90 minutes and several hours to generate a  report.

Field tests show EyeDetect is 85 percent accurate. When used in conjunction with polygraph, and when both tests have the same result, accuracy reaches almost 98  percent.

Utilized in Central and South America since late 2014, Converus is now focused on the U.S. using it for visa applicants, immigrants and  parolees.

“We do have to be concerned about the possibility that a terrorist organization may seek to exploit our refugee resettlement process,” said Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson at a recent press  conference.

“Everyone is talking about the need to vet refugees, but no one has a viable solution — especially for refugees who don’t have any personal identification records,” said Converus President and CEO Todd Mickelsen. “We’re confident the U.S. government will see this technology can help keep our country safe. EyeDetect has been tested, it works, and it’s available to implement  immediately.”

Mickelsen said the EyeDetect exam would address such questions as: “Have you committed any acts of terrorism?” “Do you have ties to ISIS, al Qaeda or any terrorist organizations?” or “Is your intention for entering the country to commit  terrorism?”

“San Bernardino terrorist Tashfeen Malik passed three U.S. government background interviews before receiving a visa. Had an EyeDetect test been administered at the beginning of the application process, she likely would have been identified and rejected before having background interviews,” said  Mickelsen.

About  Converus®
Converus provides technological solutions for deception detection. EyeDetect® is the first ocular-motor deception test solution for deception detection. The same scientists credited with computerizing the polygraph in 1991 created EyeDetect — an accurate, efficient, secure, and noninvasive method for businesses to manage risk and ensure workplace integrity, and for law enforcement agencies and governments to detect deception (including the screening of visa applicants or foreign nationals). The company was formed in 2009 and is headquartered in Lehi, Utah. Website:

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