In recent years, corrections agencies have begun to use electronic wrist monitors and anklet transmitters, along with voice verification, to monitor low-risk prisoners who serve time at home. Now, Synetics Corp. in Wakefield, Mass., has developed a system, called Lipsinc, to track parolees using Caller ID and automatic speech-recognition technology.

Lipsinc checks an incoming call's point of origin, then verifies the caller's identity by comparing his or her voice with a voice imprint taken before the prisoner was released from custody. An early prototype of Lipsinc, its designers claim, has a 99% accuracy rate after the caller has been on the line a minute or so. Synetics, a systems engineering company, designed Lipsinc for U.S. Telefactors Corp., which runs a high-tech messaging service in Aurora, Ill.

The companies say the technology has also attracted interest from securities firms and banks interested in verifying telephonic financial transactions. On the other hand, competitors say making the caller repeat the same phrase may work for a captive audience, but that doesn't mean the system is ready for Wall Street.

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