The Department of Homeland Security is planning a study to find out if human body odour can be used as a biometric identifier and/or a means of detecting a lie.
DHS is currently collecting human odour samples and beginning preliminary work to uncover indicators that could be used against potential criminals. Essentially, they believe that an odour may not only be unique to a particular individual, but can also a “useful indicator of certain human behaviors.” This research has a foundation in recent studies that have used gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to analyse organic compounds in human sweat. These studies have indicated that there may very well be marker compounds in human sweat that can be used to identify individuals, and that these “odour fingerprints” can change over time for as yet unknown reasons.
Naturally, civil liberties advocates (especially the smelly ones) are taking issue with this research, claiming that the department had “misplaced priorities.”
“The history of DHS’ deployment of these technologies has been one colossal failure after another,” he said. “There is no lie detector. This research has been a long, meandering journey, which has taken us down one blind alley after another.”
Personally, I would have to agree with the ACLU on this one. I’m no scientist, but I would imagine that there are too many variables like diet and scented perfumes/creams that could result in inconsistencies. It seems like less of an exact science than other biometric technologies. [UPI]