Law enforcement has long struggled with the admissibility of voiceprints in court, as a means of identifying voices caught on tape. While the US Supreme Court has not ruled on the admissibility of voiceprints, it did, in 1993, set a new standard for the admissibility of expert testimony and scientific evidence; where earlier rules demanded ‘general acceptance’ of the principles involved, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals argued that admissibility of evidence ‘rests on a reliable foundation and is relevant to the task at hand.’ Thus the admissibility of voiceprints is decided on a case-by-case basis. While proponents argue that voiceprints are analogous to fingerprints, detractors argue that, unlike fingerprints, voices can change due to illness, injury, or age, making voiceprints far less reliable.
With the current explosion of electronic, computer, and telephone commerce, voiceprints are becoming popular as a potential security measure. Defined as a biometric-based signature, voiceprints can be used to identify a speaker positively on the basis of physical characteristics, namely the specific configuration of vocal cavities (throat, naval cavities, and mouth) and articulators (lips, teeth, tongue, and soft palate). Commercial interests are particularly drawn to biometric-based signatures, because they cannot be lost, stolen, or forgotten. Further, one bank, which was using voiceprints experimentally, opined that customers would be likely to accept the idea of voiceprints because they were less intrusive than fingerprints or retina scans, and less likely to be entered in national databases.
While a voiceprint is particularly technological, it extends a previously held idea that one's voice is not simply an identifying marker, like a fingerprint, but is instead the unique expression of one's essential self. In literary studies, this has manifested in the idea that all writers, professional as well as amateur, have an authentic voice that one should be able to identify and strengthen. Movements such as cultural studies, women's studies, and race studies have used the concept to highlight exclusions in various traditions. When a writer, musician, or other artist is hailed as the ‘voice of his or her generation’, he or she is seen as encapsulating the identity of an age.
Block, E. B. (1975). Voiceprinting: how the law can read the voice of crime. David McKay Company, Inc., New York.
Field, R. L. (1997). ‘The electronic future of cash: survey: 1996: survey of the year's developments in electronic cash law and the laws affecting electronic banking in the United States.’ The American University Law Review, April 1997.
See also speech; voice.
"voiceprint." The Oxford Companion to the Body. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/voiceprint
"voiceprint." The Oxford Companion to the Body. . Retrieved September 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/voiceprint
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.