ISC News Fakes Fever Screening, Falsely Quotes FDABy: Joey Walter, Published on Jun 18, 2020
ISC News, the Reed publication behind the ISC East and West trade shows, has run a faked fever camera illustration and falsely quoted the FDA.
Moreover, ISC News falsely quoted an FDA director turning it into a positive spin on selling this technology, correcting it after IPVM reported the issue.
On Tuesday, June 16th, ISC News published a report called "As Businesses Reopen, Security Leaders Look To Temperature Technology" using the header image below:
This thermal scanner image cannot possibly deliver the 'temperature screening' they describe:
- First, the wide FoV includes dozens of people in very close contact and occluding others.
- Second, many of these people are sitting and standing facing away from the image.
- Finally, the pixel density, even for the highest resolution thermal cameras, would be far too low to cover anywhere close to this area.
This is clearly one of the worst examples of faked thermal images we have yet seen.
ISC News responded to IPVM saying:
The piece does not promote (or even mention) specific products or the capabilities of any products.
It's strictly an educational report on one technology businesses are considering to keep their employees safe as they return to work.
While we agree that the piece does not promote specific products, if this is to be an 'educational report' then they are responsible for providing an accurate depiction of thermal scanning. Conversely, this image fosters false expectations about how these devices work or how they should be used.
Moreover, because ISC News is part of the largest North American trade show and therefore targets thousands of companies that buy these products, their misrepresentation can confuse and mislead many of the 'security leaders' they target.
ISC News declined to remove or adjust the illustration.
'Frame From a Scanner'
Moreover, ISC News said:
The image we used does not purport to be a frame from a scanner. It is a stock image from Adobe that broadly connotes the subject matter of the article, is visually appealing and fits the requirements of our design.
However, the source for this image on Adobe Stock literally describes this as a 'thermal screen scanner':
While we agree with ISC News that this is visually appealing, the image clearly illustrates a thermal scanning frame and thus misrepresents how the products work. Moreover, the visual appeal of this image contributes to confusing people about how these work.
Falsely Quoted FDA
While the FDA said thermal should probably not be a primary tool, ISC News reported the opposite, further misleading readers.
“It’s probably clear it should be one of the primary tools,” said Zane Arp, director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s division of biomedical physics. “Should it be used as the primary device for screening for Covid? Can it be used with other things to figure out who has this disease?” [emphasis added]
However, in the webinar this is quoted from, at the 2:30 mark, the FDA Director actually says:
And on the effectiveness front the primary tool, it is fairly clear that this probably should not be a primary tool in the fight against COVID. That's not to say that it can't be utilized as a part of a toolbox in detecting people with COVID or triaging people in a hospital that are known to have the disease, but if it's utilized for as a primary triage method or evaluation that that it would be fairly poor.
The actual quote was changed by ISC News to alter the meaning entirely, as you can compare for yourself:
It's probably clear it should be one of the primary tools (REPORTED INCORRECT)
It is fairly clear that this probably should not be a primary tool (CORRECT)
This is a highly concerning example of misrepresenting thermal cameras as being a primary tool to diagnose fevers, or COVID-19, whereas the US government official clearly states otherwise.
After we reported the error, ISC News corrected, adding an addendum:
[Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this piece, Zane Arp was quoted inaccurately. His words have been changed to reflect this. We regret the error.]
Problems For Buyers
The continued trend of major organizations misrepresenting what thermal can do for fever scanning helps the industry short term to sell more products but hurts buyers and the general public who are looking for ways to safely return to life in the face of a deadly pandemic.
Vote / Poll