Beware Of Feevr

By: John Honovich, Published on Apr 14, 2020

Beware of "Feevr". The company is marketing a 'Feevr' solution that fundamentally lacks accuracy for its use, as its thermal provider FLIR has said and IPVM testing of the FLIR sensor Feevr uses has shown. Plus, it lacks FDA approval, as the company's premier distributor has admitted.

Feevr has refused to address these fundamental issues, instead repeatedly threatening legal action against IPVM.

Amidst this, the company says they are winning a growing number of huge USA companies.

Demonstrations Issues

Their home page features this demonstration - left 91.3°F, center, 90°F, right 99°F:

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The red box on the right is an alarm on the person who may have a 'feevr' (99°F) but the sharp divergence in temperatures is more alarming. The two people on the left and center with 90-91°F temperatures are evidently dying of hypothermia or inaccuracy in measurement.

That's typical for Feevr's demos. Indeed, Feevr attempts to explain it as a positive in this Twitter video where they show even a lower reading of 89.6°F, excerpted below:

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They then compare it to laser handheld thermometer, which reads similarly:

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IPVM Image

Instead of the obvious issue of the thermometer they are using, this is used as proof that Feevr works.

Temperature Detection Inaccurate

Feevr's CISO Jasun Tate responded to IPVM's accuracy concerns claiming:

The specifications for the FLIR One Pro and the many other products that are available are publicly available. The specifications outlined within our product and its capabilities are commiserate with the abundance FDA Approved Thermal Guns that are currently being leveraged literally across the entire world. [emphasis added]

However, that is simply wrong, as we explained to Feevr, the FLIR One Pro they use is 10x less accurate than, e.g., FLIR's FDA approved thermal gun, as we responded to Tate:

FDA approved thermal guns typically have more higher accuracy specifications. For example, the FLIR EXTech IR200 specifies "is accurate to 0.5°F (0.3°C)" which is much more accurate than the FLIR One Pro which has "Measurement Accuracy ±3°C (5.4°F) or ±5%".

Moreover, FLIR's spokesperson reinforced that problem, confirming to IPVM:

We do not recommend the FLIR ONE Pro or Lepton-based devices for this use case.

Indeed, FLIR's specifications are clear:

IPVM Image

That is nowhere close enough to the precision needed to determine the fine differences between 'normal' body temperatures ~98°F and 'fevers' at ~100°F.

Moreover, IPVM tested the FLIR Pro One and it performed inaccurately for human temperature detection, just as FLIR indicated.

Repeated Legal Threats

In response, Feevr has threatened IPVM with legal action, saying:

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We are keen on accuracy and fairness in our reporting so we asked them to enumerate what specific statements were false or objectionable so we could review and respond. Feevr again said:

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Finally, Feevr had an attorney (though not from mega law firm Wilson Sonsini) send us a list of objections. We updated our original report with their feedback and called up their attorney and spoke for 40 minutes explaining our concerns about accuracy, FDA and their CEO's business track record. We agreed that Feevr would take ~5 hours until 5 pm PT April 13th to respond to those concerns. At ~5:10 pm PT, the attorney called me to ask for 45 more minutes saying they were working on a response. We agreed to the extension but just before 6pm PT, Feevr then declined to provide any response, again citing Wilson Sonsini:

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The facts remain. The thermal sensor they are using is not specified nor recommended by their provider for such a 'feevr' application. And Feevr cannot address this, only threaten legal action.

Violates FDA Rules

Equally importantly, Feevr has no FDA approval for this device, an important matter the FDA explained to IPVM recently.

The CEO of Feevr's "premier US distributor" admitted the lack of approval saying:

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We also asked Feevr about how they are handling their lack of FDA approval but they declined to comment on this as well.

However, SDS's CEO says they are winning big deals:

Thousands of the systems are in use today and one of our Fortune 5 customers just placed a follow on order for 500 more, thus validating it's usefulness.

Clearly, SDS and X.Labs (i.e., Feevr) consider this a 'fever detection device' that requires FDA regulation because they literally said so in their press release announcing this:

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Accuracy and legal issues aside, we believe Feevr and SDS that they are selling a lot of these devices right now.

CEO Barry Oberholzer

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The visionary behind this, Feevr's / X.Labs CEO Barry Oberholzer, has had an incredible career. Most recently featured in a 2019 Daily Beast profile: He’s a Wanted Man in South Africa. Now He’s Pushing an App to Help Solve School Shootings in America and as far back as 2012 in a WSJ article: South Africa Probes a Leader as Presidential Race Looms.

Oberholzer responded to IPVM's question about the allegations, saying:

these charges were dropped and were a result of improper representation due to the nature of my career with the government at the time.

UPDATE: South Africa Says Still Wanted

The South Africa National Prosecuting Authority says Oberholzer's claim is 'not true' and 'there is still an arrest warrant out for him':

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And:

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Read Barry Oberholzer's charge sheet provided by the South African government.

Eric Ntabzalila is the NPA spokesperson and he is widely cited on the Internet in this role.

Oberholzer also included pre-emptive legal threats (even before Tate), warning:

What would you like to know pertaining to FEEVR as I would like to communicate on topics that keep us both founded in truth, while not perpetuating slanderous or defamatory elements that our legal team takes careful note of...

leveraging methods that can be considered slanderous, defamatory and ultimately incorrect is something me nor my organization takes lightly.

But no speculation needs to be made as Oberholzer has published an autobiography, "The Black Market Concierge: Sanction Busting, Smuggling & Spying for America". While his relationship with the US government cannot be verified, his own writing about what he did before his alleged US government relationship explains how he operates, with admissions such as:

my preference for seeing life as a game of roulette, where putting everything on black seemed as good a strategy as any.

Sometimes, the need – almost the desperation – to make some money or kick-start a business blinds you to the consequences. You start to justify to yourself the shadier side of a deal, take short cuts that would not go down well at business school.

there were ways to circumvent sanctions: elaborate routes, descriptions of exports that were artful and inventive, a mesh of companies that were here today and gone tomorrow. Even the US Treasury and the CIA couldn’t keep track of every transaction. And I continued to tell myself that what we were doing was fair. There were no weapons involved, nor technology that would make them. But I was deceiving myself. I knew the Iranians were trying to reverse engineer the technology they were able to obtain.

As a US citizen, I was obviously subject to US law and some of my business ventures – the good, the bad and the ugly – had probably veered beyond the limits of federal legislation.

We asked Feevr for feedback on Oberholzer's statements in his book but Feevr declined.

Feevr Winning But Risks Remain

Oberholzer's self-stated preference for 'putting everything on black' is happening here. And he, Feevr, and SDS are winning big right now.

And, if despite the issues raised by their thermal provider FLIR and the lack of FDA approval, customers want to use such a device for 'fever detection', so be it, but this does pose risks to the public who may depend on this to avoid being infected in this ongoing crisis.

3 reports cite this report:

FLIR Suspends Agreement With Feevr on May 07, 2020
Thermal manufacturer FLIR has suspended its agreement with Feevr (aka...
IPVM Rejects Feevr's Improper Threats And Demands on May 04, 2020
IPVM categorically rejects Feevr's improper threats and demands submitted...
FDA "Does Not Intend to Object" To Unapproved Fever Detection Cameras If No 'Undue Risk' on Apr 17, 2020
The US FDA has declared it will not go after the many companies marketing...

Comments (31)

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Well done.

Good on you guys, I respect you chasing the story no matter what. There are plenty of businesses like this in all kinds of industries who sell devices which are not suitable for the task they're marketed for.

I think the simpler moral of this story is not to buy products endorsed by a guy with that kind of haircut. Simple rules to live by, even if he’s just styling it like that because his barber has been closed for over a month.

I cannot understand why Shooter Detection Systems would want to be associated with such an obviously bad product. Are they incapable of doing even a simple evaluation of the product to understand it is useless? Are they so desperate for revenue that they will sell out the trust they have built with customers for a quick buck?

Feevr has no reputation to product in the industry, and when this is over they will likely move on to try and sell snake oil elsewhere, but Shooter Detection Systems will be permanently damaged from the blowback if they really are selling these units to lots of customers.

Feevr's CISO is now falsely alleging:

Falsely claiming, 100% untrue:

But since I have your attention let's discuss what we will not tolerate. Harrasment, Threats, Scams, and Inappropriate and Lewd Advancements to our staff.

You reached out to our female legal counsel unsolicited via a hidden number after we tried to communicate with you many times directly via phone.

Her number was not publically published so you took measures on your own to investigate, conduct OSINT and intimidate a female in efforts to get a story for your blog.

These tactics techniques and protocols that you leverage are illegal, threatening and harassing people for personal agenda without regard for privacy, safety integrity is criminal.

Their attorney was professional and we had a good conversation for 40 minutes, as the call record below shows:

And I emailed her this follow up confirming our conversation and the 8pm ET deadline:

And at 6 minutes past 8pm, their attorney called me up to ask for the extension described in the post, as this call record below shows:

Feevr's tactics are stunning and their claims 100% false.

Moreover, Feevr 's Tate continues to try to email my family members with these messages, even though my family members have no business involvement with IPVM.

Moreover, Feevr 's Tate continues to try to email my family members with these messages,

Are you saying they conducted OSINT to gather contact info for your family members?

they conducted OSINT

For others, OSINT means Open-source intelligence. Looking things up on the Internet is looking things up on the Internet. But repeatedly emailing addresses he believes are from my family members, threatening legal action, is an intimidation tactic.

Her number was not publically published so you took measures on your own to investigate, conduct OSINT and intimidate a female in efforts to get a story for your blog.

I was referring to this statement from his email, where he makes the accusation to you:

Her number was not publically published so you took measures on your own to investigate, conduct OSINT and intimidate a female in efforts to get a story for your blog.

I appears that he did the same thing he was accusing you of.

We contacted Feevr’s attorney in response to the attorney’s email to us. Feevr repeatedly tried to email my family members bringing them into this.

Feevr repeatedly tried to email my family members...

Holy Crap! John has family members??!!!

:)

It's been rumored they even like him.

We contacted Feevr’s attorney in response to the attorney’s email to us. Feevr repeatedly tried to email my family members bringing them into this.

Sounds like my ex-wife. And I really am not joking.

What is very odd is he points out the gender of who you called. How is this in any way relevant unless he is claiming at the end of your interview you made a pass at her?

John- Thanks for the interview, you sound hot! I bet you can detect my fever now.

Would a legal counsel really advise their own client to write a cease and desist via email on their own?

You should invite them to the online trade show.

Any chance this guy owns a Tiger?

The most amazing comment ever. Well played hahahaha!!!

I don't think your comment is enough to win the Internet for the day, but you certainly win IPVM for today.

$20 says his "lawyer" is just another one of his con artist friends with an equally disturbing haircut.

The attorney I spoke to was professional and intelligent. My impression from speaking to her was that she was brought in to handle this and not part of their core group.

You're a patient man John. Glad you're on the job.

"Thousands of the systems are in use today and one of our Fortune 5 customers just placed a follow on order for 500 more, thus validating it's usefulness."

this is such an obvious straw man argument that it injured my brain reading it.

A silver lining of this pandemic is that unethical folks seem to be tripping over themselves to show what their true colors really are.

These guys appear to be very shady. Hopefully the Feds get involved.

And the haircut is just embarrassing.

What on earth does "our product and its capabilities are commiserate with the abundance FDA Approved Thermal Guns" mean?

Commiserate: "express or feel sympathy or pity". Commensurate: "corresponding in size or degree"

What is a meme? | Sprout Social

Excellent reporting! The USA and the world need more companies like IPVM to root out the scams. Thank you.

But in short, you will see in our legal response there are much more than 1 case.

Much more.

Feevr has uploaded a "justification" of their visual temperature display.

Much of their justification is that there is a "direct" relationship between forehead skin temperature and core body temperature. They cite this 2006 study as a source to justify the delta between the two in this passage:

The feevr unit measures the temperature of the skin on the forehead which is directly correlated to the core temperature, which typically is 3.6°F - 7.2°F (2.0°C - 4.0°C) higher than the skin temperature.

However, read in context, the study says that 2-4° is average, but it can range widely (emphasis added):

Even in a moderate environment, average temperature of the peripheral thermal compartment is 2°–4°C less than core temperature. However, this thermal gradient can range from nearly zero to large values depending on the severity of the environment and the consequent vasomotor responses.

This study was written by two anesthesiologists and was performed on patients undergoing surgery in controlled surgical environments, not in general.

Fundamentally, Feevr also does not explain or justify how they are using a sensor which FLIR themselves has said is not accurate enough for thermal screening (±3°C) and getting accurate results. The FLIR One Pro included with Feevr has a 70mK sensitivity spec, which is quite high compared to others, generally 50mK or 30mK.

Has anything changed with Feevr?

I reviewed it (not tested it) and thought it looked like an effective tool especially if Pre-Check was utilized with actual FDA thermometers to assist employees to check temp prior to entering the building.

I went in knowing all about the articles and bad press they got and came out wondering if the product has actually improved. To some degree it seems improved and as accurate as the Sunnell dual lens camera and much more affordable. All in all I'm not a fan of the skin temp cams but do think if utilized in the right conditions and with the appropriate standards and operating procedures that it can be useful.

Have you revisited the product or is still the same scam?

Curious what about it you reviewed?

Feevr is using a FlirOne, which uses a Lepton thermal imager. FLIR has directly stated they do not recommend this product for any kind of human body temp monitoring. The Lepton is a 160x120 pixel sensor, with radiometric accuracy of +/-10C or +/-5C, depending on which mode you operate it in. Even at +/- 5C, it is nowhere near accurate enough for this kind of application.

Feevr can't do anything about the FLIROne specs (other than use a different sensor), so it is not going to improve or get any better.

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