MADRID - What does the voice of a person reveal about his or her identity? Is it like DNA or fingerprint? How does the brain interpret voices? Are computers better than humans at doing it? Dozens of controversial judicial cases ring the alarm on the misuse of voices in courts.
Forensic speech science is an unregulated sector, suffering from the effects of privatisation and budget cuts. DJs or CD shop owners are acting as experts in courts, side by side with university professors with years of experience. Attempts by the EU to enforce quality standards are in a dead end. And there is division even within the expert community. Linguists and engineers disagree on methods, and the use of voice databases and consistent statistics is still limited.
The project's database of court cases where voice recordings were used can be found here.
Journalist Michele Catanzaro won the 2016 European Science Writer of the Year award for this project.
Photo: Snapshots from a forensic speech laboratory © Gianluca Battista
- 'Forensische Phonetik: Stimmen vor Gericht' (DE) (January 14th, 2016 - Neue Zürcher Zeitung)
- 'Wenn die Stimme vor Gericht versagt' (DE) (December 17th, 2015 - Stuttgarter Zeitung)
- Voice Analysis Should Be Used with Caution in Court (January 25th, 2017 - Scientific American)
- 'Verdächtige Stimmen' (DE) (November 19th, 2015 - DER SPIEGEL)
- '¿Què hi ha en una veu? (CAT) (November 8th, 2015 - El Periódico, Dominical)
- '¿Qué hay en una voz?' (ES) (November 8th, 2015 - El Perioódico, Dominical)
- Senti chi parla (IT) - Radio 3 Scienza, 19 April 2016
- Online Database
- Quando l'intercettazione è ambigua (IT) - Le inchieste, La Repubblica, 13 April 2016
- 'Speech forensics: when Hollywood seldom mirrors real-life court cases' (December 16th, 2015 - Euroscientist)
- 'Kritische Blicke auf die forensische Phonetik' (DE) (December 11th, 2015 - Meta Magazin)
- 'Verdächtige Stimmen' (DE) (November 19th, 2015 - SPIEGELONLINE)
- '¿Qué hay en una voz?' (ES) (November 11th, 2015 - elperiodico.com)
- '¿Què hi ha en una veu?' (CAT) (November 11th, 2015 - elperiodico.com)
- 'Hearing Voices, periodismo contra la pseudociencia judicial' (ES) (November 10th, 2015 - Hipertextual)