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US Gov't Circulates Watch List of Buyers of Polygraph Training Materials 303

Posted by timothy
from the and-if-you-have-nothing-to-hide dept.
George Maschke writes "Investigative reporter Marisa Taylor of the McClatchy newspaper group reports that a list of 4,904 individuals who purchased a book, DVD, or personal training on how to pass a polygraph test has been circulated to nearly 30 federal agencies including the CIA, NSA, DIA, DOE, TSA, IRS, and FDA. Most of the individuals on the list purchased former police polygraphist Doug Williams' book, How to Sting the Polygraph, which explains how to pass or beat a polygraph test. Williams also sells a DVD on the subject and offers in-person training. In February 2013, federal law enforcement officials seized Williams' business records, from which the watch list was primarily compiled. Williams has not been charged with a crime."
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US Gov't Circulates Watch List of Buyers of Polygraph Training Materials

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 14, 2013 @08:47AM (#45421943)

    When will they realize that their entire polygraph system is flawed in principle? It's mumbo jumbo! Might as well be reading tea leaves. It only works if the person being "tested" believes that it works.

    • by lxs (131946) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @08:53AM (#45421993)

      Now you've put all the readers of my tea leaves self-defense newsletter on a watchlist. Thanks!

    • It's quite possible someone could 'react' to sensitive questions just out of fear. There's a lot at stake.

      False positives, not so good--trash a probably innocent person. I think FMRI has a chance of determining truthfulness, but polygraphs, not so much.

      --PM

      • Re:Not even then (Score:5, Interesting)

        by lxs (131946) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:04AM (#45422077)

        Let's see if we can catch a dead salmon in a lie! [wired.com]

      • Re:Not even then (Score:5, Interesting)

        by currently_awake (1248758) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:15AM (#45422167)
        Given that a polygraph is not a reliable way to catch lies, and buying a book on beating it isn't illegal, and given that they just divulged confidential corporate information: I expect that a certain business man just got handed free money.
        • Re:Not even then (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jythie (914043) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:38AM (#45422367)
          If our legal system was primarily driven by law then yes, but there is way too much politics involved here. Judges, the humans who get to decide such things, have a significant conflict of interests but will not recuse themselves, and it is unlikely they will rule against their own community's systematic behavior.
          • Re:Not even then (Score:5, Interesting)

            by cffrost (885375) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @10:05AM (#45422575) Homepage

            If our legal system was primarily driven by law then yes, but there is way too much politics involved here. Judges, the humans who get to decide such things, have a significant conflict of interests but will not recuse themselves, and it is unlikely they will rule against their own community's systematic behavior.

            I think judges should elected from pools of defense attorneys — no former prosecutors. Defense attorneys are used to defending people's Constitutional rights, while prosecutors are used to suppressing evidence and skirting Constitutional limits in order to put away "bad guys" even when the defendant is actually a "good guy." Defense attorneys give the people the benefit of the doubt, as opposed to the (police) state.

            • by azadrozny (576352)

              I am confident that a nearly equal number of defense attorneys are guilty of the same offenses. While I agree that some attorneys go to far, both sides need a qualified proponent for the system to work. The prosecutor needs to represent the interest of the community, and the defense to represent the interests of the accused. A more interesting requirement would be to elect judges who have experience on both sides of criminal cases.

              • Re:Not even then (Score:4, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 14, 2013 @10:47AM (#45422903)

                I have to disagree. As a lawyer myself, I have to chuckle about the popular conception of the "sleazy defense attorney" vs. that of the "crusading DA."

                In my experience, criminal prosecutors tend to easily be the sleaziest of the bunch and often are deeply complicit in malfeasance by the police who provide them with their evidence. This is unsurprising given that the structure of the system encourages prosecutors, especially in small scale criminal cases, to view defendants merely as potential notches on their belts and to always be looking for the big score, no matter what the cost. Defense attorneys, on the other hand work intimately with their clients, who despite whatever heinous crimes they may have committed, are ultimately people, and tend to develop a better sense of what is a reasonably balance between justice and humanity, both in their tactics and in the ultimate outcome a case demands.

        • by mrjatsun (543322)

          > Given that a polygraph is not a reliable way to catch lies

          That's not really the point of the test. While the actual polygraph test isn't all that accurate, the test itself does provide benefits if the people taking it believe it's accurate. People will be more likely to admit discretions, lost or misplaced material, not properly following protocols, etc.

      • Re:Not even then (Score:4, Informative)

        by jhumkey (711391) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:29AM (#45422295) Journal
        I made that point once to a KY State Police polygraph operator (who I met because my father was a KSP officer) . . . the polygraph operator responded . . . "That's why we give/read a list of questions in advance . . . we want your reaction to the "lie" . . . not to the magnitude of the question."

        But . . . that was 20 years ago . . . things may have changed.
        • Re:Not even then (Score:5, Interesting)

          by s.petry (762400) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @10:37AM (#45422817)

          The preliminary questions that they claimed would be the "base line" really don't work because the system is flawed. It's kind of like claiming that meditation before the tea leaf reading makes reading tea leaves work.

          40 years ago, we knew it was flawed (we knew long before your statement of 20 years). Certain agencies of Government (including Military) trained agents/soldiers to beat the Polygraph. It's a bit more than simply not believing in the machine's ability to catch a lie, mostly adding in relaxation and breathing techniques. Leaks of that training could have something to do with public knowledge about how to beat the polygraph, the techniques are the same. This is why certain government agencies (did|do) not use just a polygraph, they used a narcotics selection to reduce your rational thinking ability, induce emotion, and increase your heart rate. (you may have heard of LSD, Sodium pentothol, etc..)

          Even with the narcotics selections, the Polygraph was beatable however. To most agencies, the polygraph became a fear technique long ago and was not seen as a real scientific tool like it was thought to be in the 50s and 60s. If they can scare you into thinking you will be caught in a lie, you may confess. They don't want the public to know that it's mumbo-jumbo though, because it's cheap and easy to use this old garbage to collect a confession.

          Now what I don't get is why they are trying to bust people that are making the voodoo public knowledge. It was bound to happen sooner or later, and them busting people does not make the polygraph magically valid science. That part is what the scientific community should be outraged over, and petitioning the Government to end it's use and persecution of people exposing the fraud.

          • Trouble is, the "polygraphers" in the police department have a vested interest in keeping the bullshit
            going (it is their livelihood) and have probably talked themselves into believing that it is real via confirmation bias.
            These asshats unfortunately have the ear of the police captains and the politicians that support them.
        • Re:Not even then (Score:5, Informative)

          by thoromyr (673646) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @10:37AM (#45422823)

          Yes, part of the process in a poly is to "lead up" to the real questions. There's the "baseline" established by answering questions truthfully part ("what is your name", "what is your occupation", etc.) and some lie questions. The myth that it is more effective if someone believes in it is also played on: "think of a number between one and ten. Don't tell me the number just think about... 1... 2... 3... 4... 5... 6... 7... 8... 9... 10..." and the operator will tell you the number you had picked. I tried to denote the long pauses between numbers. Basically, there is typically a gradual tension build up as the selected number is approached and relief/release when it has been passed. The long delays help to ensure a clear reading of this and the idea is that by demonstrating mind reading the subject will believe in the poly making it more reliable.

          Too bad it just isn't so. That is, there is no clear, causative relationship between lying and what the polygraph measures. Belief in the poly (and I've met folks who are absolutely convinced in their reliability) provides no help in passing one when being truthful, or failing one when lying. It is immaterial.

          Something people who haven't been around polys don't seem to be aware of and isn't something they think of is that subjects often fall asleep during a poly. They are slow and tedious. They take a long time. There's lots of waiting. You are required to lay there absolutely still. And if you fall asleep it negates the entire poly and it has to be redone.

          Another thing is the pretense that the polygraph tells whether or not someone is lying. It does no such thing. Instead, it is a set of graphs that are correlated with questions. In a serious polygraph this data is provided to two examiners who work independently. The goal is to yield a pass/fail, not a "subject was lying on points A, B and C, but lying on D, E and F". If the two examiners reach opposing conclusions then the data is provided to a third examiner and his determination is the ultimate finding. So with a polygraph there cannot be an uncertain answer: it is either pass or fail, nothing in between. It is graded by humans who the system expects will frequently have opposing findings and instead of that resulting in equivocacy it is simply referred to a single examiner to provide that authoritative result.

          It is hard to not see this as being the subjective, flawed system that it is, but for those that have a deep psychological and/or political need for it to be objective and accurate it appears to suffice.

      • Even if it did, it's almost always going to be horribly irresponsible to do that while helium is a limited resource. They should instead rely on doing real background checks and not relying on silver bullets to do their job for them.
      • I had to take a polygraph test and I kept failing questions seemingly randomly. I finally figured out why, too. If I was at the end of an exhale when the interviewer reached the end of a question, I had to stop for just an instant to think whether to answer the question or take a breath. That tiny hesitation was enough to set it off. When the interviewer allowed me to answer the questions by nodding or shaking my head, I passed with flying colors.

    • by TheCarp (96830)

      The moment that cronie's nephew's job isn't dependant on them not realizing it. So about the same time they realize arresting people over smoking flowers (which was also started as a jobs program since the FBN had fuck all to do after prohibition ended) .

    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:08AM (#45422115) Journal

      "Flawed in principle" is putting it rather mildly. I'd put it as "complete and utter bullshit." Polygraphs are on a level with dousing and voodoo dolls.

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:13AM (#45422143) Journal

        "Flawed in principle" is putting it rather mildly. I'd put it as "complete and utter bullshit." Polygraphs are on a level with dousing and voodoo dolls.

        We should really just go back to good old Phrenology. Imagine how sophisticated our discernment of the criminal type could be, now that we have rapid 3d scanning technology!

        We could even have employees shave their heads, and do a daily scan as they walk in the door. If the bump indicative of 'leaking tendencies' or 'disloyalty' increases in size, we'll know something is up. This plan is practically infallible.

        • by jalopezp (2622345)

          Even better. Short of attaching prosthetic plates to the outside of your skull, there is nothing really you can do about beating a phrenology test. There could be no phrenology lessons or lists people how buy books on how to beat a phrenology exam.

          --
          Change the shape of your skull in seconds!

      • "Flawed in principle" is putting it rather mildly. I'd put it as "complete and utter bullshit." Polygraphs are on a level with dousing and voodoo dolls.

        I suspect that having a heavily subjective (but allegedly Super Scientific) mechanism for generating justification for hounding people you dislike for other reasons is quite useful indeed....

        If we were using some sort of goofy 'truth' metric, they'd be useless; but things can be false as well as useful.

        Consider the analogy to drug sniffing dogs: While far better that their jobs than polygraphs, it isn't news that they 'indicate' in response to non-drugs all the damn time. That's more a feature than a

      • by TheCarp (96830)

        > Polygraphs are on a level with dousing and voodoo dolls.

        And yet like them, there is always that person who thinks they work.

        I was recently in a particular crowd of people I know who are somewhat prone to such beliefs. I mentioned how some guy had been selling essentially dowsing rods to miliary forces in Iraq, claiming that they were bomb detectors (they had no sensor, it was just a plastic handle with a card slot and a telescoping antena on a swivel)

        Of course, I said this expecting the meaning to be t

      • by jovius (974690)

        The polygraph adds stress, and it becomes more difficult to lie in a coherent manner. Of course the test can be beaten, but if the operator is observable and skillful the signs can be picked. So it's not so much (or not at all) about the actual graphing. Staring at the machine will not yield any usable result. The eyes are on the one being tested.

      • by LanMan04 (790429)

        Nope, polygraphs DO work....but only because people THINK they work.

        They trick people into confessing things they wouldn't otherwise confess, because "the machine will find out" anyway and at least there may be some mercy if they voluntarily confess.

        All bullshit, of course, but it does work....just not for the reasons we assume it does.

    • by jythie (914043)
      Such a realization would put a lot of careers at risk since people all through the law enforcement chain have built their reputation at least in part around polygraphs. It would mean confronting the fact that they used invalid evidence and thus their convictions might be false. It also means people with strong conviction records will have their stats questioned, if not by others then by themselves, and that represent a serious risk to self image (as well as political career).

      In other words, too much inve
    • by pla (258480)
      They already know as much - Thus having polygraph evidence inadmissible in court and illegal for virtually all employers to demand of their workers.

      As usual, though, the government counts as the absolute worst offender when it comes to "Do as I say..."


      More to the point of TFA, though... It sounds just peachy that Uncle Sam knows about "all" 4,904 people who bought this thing directly, but what about the 4.904 million who simply downloaded the PDF for free online?
    • by thoromyr (673646) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @10:19AM (#45422681)

      It isn't a matter of realizing that the polygraph is flawed. The NSA uses the counterintelligence scope poly for all employees, the CIA uses the more invasive "lifestyle" poly, and so on. All of this despite the fact that the inventor of the polygraph was a charlatan, it has been thoroughly debunked by scientific investigation, and all though intelligence people who have sold out their country (such as Aldritch Ames) passed the poly.

      The importance isn't in its efficacy, but in having something "tangible" to hold on to. The powers that be are like Linus -- they need a security blanket to hold on to and they have seized on the polygraph. When you are in charge of a department that is going to have access to the deepest and darkest secrets, the most politically damaging truths, you want -- as a person in charge -- you *need* for these things to remain secret. You do background checks, have agents investigate backgrounds, interview the person and people they know.

      But a clever person can conceal past malfeasance so that it does not come to light during the investigation. All you have from the personal interview is a *subjective* assessment of the person's honesty, truthfulness, and so on. What is needed is something more, something objective, something with a *score* that passes or fails the person being considered for this very sensitive position.

      That is where the polygraph comes in. Thanks to the salesmanship of the original charlatan, people who *need* it are willing to overlook the rather glaring flaws and falacies in its foundation. And once it gets embedded in the government you have bureaucratic inertia keeping it in place. So the security blanket is here to stay. Now more than ever those in power feel a need to have additional assurance that their employees won't turn on them. The demonstrated lack of efficacy in this regard just makes them all the more frantic.

      One point: your statement leaves the reader with the impression that the polygraph can work, and does if the person believes in it. This is tempting and perhaps plays a role in the self-deceit on the part of those who purvey and utilize polygraphs. But it simply isn't true. It *never* works to detect a lie. By coincidence a person may fail the polygraph while lying, but it is just a coincidence. Polygraphs have been studied and debunked.

      Polygraphs are less effective than voodoo where if someone brought up in a culture that believes in the efficacy of voodoo has a curse put on them they will become ill (of course, they have to *know* about the curse, but that is part and parcel of how voodoo works). In other words, strong indoctrination can invoke a placebo effect to cause harm. This same effect has not been successfully demonstrated with polygraphs and is implausible given there is no unique, causative mechanism between lying and the physiological effects being measured. And that's assuming there's *any* causative mechanism.

  • Well.. I guess they'll get to put the book to good use real soon now..
  • overreach (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SkunkPussy (85271) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @08:49AM (#45421957) Journal

    That is pretty shady that they seize his materials, use it to their advantage, but then don't charge him with any crime. That's basically tyranny.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      it's robbery as well.

      you know what would be funny? administer a polygraph test on the people who seized the materials and ask them questions about their motives.

      and I mean, fuck, http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=how+to+beat+a+polygraph&sm=3 [youtube.com] do they really expect to keep a list of everyone who clicks that link?(yes they do, sadly).

      • Maybe they did the author a favor. Seems like they have validated his methods by these actions. Sales should increase.
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:14AM (#45422151) Journal

      That is pretty shady that they seize his materials, use it to their advantage, but then don't charge him with any crime. That's basically tyranny.

      Commies like you have no faith in America. It's not like he had any reasonable expectation of security in his person, papers, and effects or anything, now is it?

      • That is pretty shady that they seize his materials, use it to their advantage, but then don't charge him with any crime. That's basically tyranny.

        Commies like you have no faith in America. It's not like he had any reasonable expectation of security in his person, papers, and effects or anything, now is it?

        Well we have the right to Keep and Bear Arms.

        Of course, if you've let things go to the point where you're not secure in your papers and where who you assemble with is under minute scrutiny, it's not going to be easy to form a well-regulated militia.

    • That's basically tyranny.

      That's not what we were taught in government schooling.

    • That is pretty shady that they seize his materials, use it to their advantage, but then don't charge him with any crime. That's basically tyranny.

      +17 insightful.

      It's been 9 months since they seized his records, and they haven't charged him with a crime? That proves that the criminal concerns were bull from the get go. They knew damn well what he was doing before they seized his records, and obviously knew damn well that criminal charges wouldn't hold up in court (either we have a few honest federal judges left, or they were worried about an actual jury of his peers).

  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @08:51AM (#45421969)
    Since the job obviously involves repeatedly lying to the American public.
  • So the first question should nowadays be:

    Have you ever successfully completed a polygraph cheating course? If yes, we won't hire you anyway.

    • by RoTNCoRE (744518)

      FYI, they ask that shortly after the 'what's your name' type questions.

      • by Sporkinum (655143)

        FYI, they ask that shortly after the 'what's your name' type questions.

        "Who is your daddy and what does he do?"

  • by Kardos (1348077) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @08:52AM (#45421987)

    Thanks for the advertisement! Once that hits the 'tubes in ebook form, thousands or even millions of us will get a copy. They can't put all of us on the watch list, right? Right?

  • 4th Amendment? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vermonter (2683811) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @08:53AM (#45421989)
    What about the 4th Amendment? This is a matter of national importance, damnit! We don't have time to let your petty rights get in the way.
  • by Salgak1 (20136) <salgak@speakeasy3.14.net minus pi> on Thursday November 14, 2013 @08:58AM (#45422037) Homepage
    . . . .that now you can be a suspect for owning a book or DVD. Good thing I never bought a copy of the Constitution . . .
    • by c0lo (1497653) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:20AM (#45422213)

      Good thing I never bought a copy of the Constitution . . .

      Yeah... In retrospect, this would have been a total waste of money.

  • Police states suck. That is all.
  • TPB... (Score:4, Funny)

    by stokessd (89903) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:00AM (#45422051) Homepage

    "How to Sting The Polygraph" is not on The Pirate Bay yet, but there are several other titles along the same lines. And of course some porn with polygraph in the title, which I'm going to check out "for professional reasons only".

    Sheldon

  • by dbIII (701233) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:02AM (#45422063)
    Hit them with copyright violation shit for copying his business records with their list of people that question this stupid polygraph voodoo.
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Hit them with copyright violation shit for copying his business records with their list of people that question this stupid polygraph voodoo.

      Wishfull thinking... but facts are not protected by copyright, only forms of expression are.

  • Makes me wonder (Score:5, Interesting)

    by onyxruby (118189) <.onyxruby. .at. .comcast.net.> on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:02AM (#45422065)

    I have blatantly admonished the polygraph as being junk science online for close to 20 years now. I've pointed out how traitors from Ames to Snowden all passed the Polygraph with flying colors. I've also pointed out how there isn't a courtroom in this country that will accept the use of one. I've talked about how the scientific community considers them absolutely rubbish and no better than snake oil. I really can't think of a better way of how to illustrate that security theater is an active danger to this country than by citing the polygraph as example number 1.

    It makes me wonder if I'm on this list of theirs too...

    • by JeffOwl (2858633) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:07AM (#45422105)
      Your are now.
    • Re:Makes me wonder (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Kazoo the Clown (644526) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:22AM (#45422231)
      The polygraph is actually good for one thing. Making criminals who don't know any better nervous thinking that maybe it does work. Some will come clean thinking the jig is up anyhow and confess or otherwise offer up useful information.. Of course it won't be useful for that anymore once criminals realize the technology is just snake oil. But it's inevitable, that ship has sailed.
    • by Hatta (162192)

      Traitors like James Clapper presumably passed the polygraph with flying colors as well.

    • Re:Makes me wonder (Score:4, Informative)

      by thoromyr (673646) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:53AM (#45422491)

      Unfortunately you are wrong on one point: at least some courts can and do accept polygraphs as evidence. I don't recall enough of the case I'm thinking of to get a citation, but where they generally come into play is when someone is duped into taking it under the condition that the results will be admitted as evidence. Basically, it can (in at least some jurisdications) be admitted if both sides agree on it before hand. Some defendants are conned into this, either by thinking they will "pass" because they are innocent or believing they can beat it.

      Beating a polygraph isn't that hard, unless the examiner knows what the finding will be before he starts. In that case it is easy enough to find anyone as having failed.

      Never, ever submit to a polygraph. Its equivalent to turning yourself in to the inquisition for "questioning". The Malleus Maleficarum should be required reading for polygraph examiners if it isn't already.

  • by rmdingler (1955220) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:03AM (#45422067)
    The polygraph is an interrogation device. Nothing more, nothing less. Based on someone's theory that certain measurable physiological responses accompany the human act of lying, it's primary function is to wring a confession out of a suspect the 'authorities' believe is spewing falsehoods from his lie hole. It is not admissible in court for a reason.
    • by cheesybagel (670288) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:12AM (#45422139)

      It's bullshit since it measures that you are under stress. Some people don't get visibly stressed while lying. In fact some people get *calmer* while lying and this is well known. Other people get stressed not because they committed the action but for other reasons (they find it repulsive, are afraid of being wrongly sentenced, whatever).

      • Some people don't get visibly stressed while lying. In fact some people get *calmer* while lying and this is well known.

        Well sure, occasionally a sociopath or two will escape the dragnet...

  • Next up: A watch-list of people who have failed to purchase dream-catchers, healing crystals, Ouija boards, homeopathic "medicine," magic 8-balls, or religious paraphernalia in the past ten years.

  • by sproketboy (608031) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:06AM (#45422091)

    Youtube search penn and teller bullshit lie detectors. It's all explained there. You don't need a book or a DVD to learn it.

    • So what you're saying is that Penn and Teller, the network that aired their show, YouTube (where the videos are uploaded), and anyone who has viewed the videos needs to go on the list also, right?

      It might be easier for the NSA et all to just make a list of people they DON'T want to watch. "John Smith is utterly boring in every way. He just sits around all day watching reality shows. Whatever you do, don't monitor him."

    • by 91degrees (207121)
      Trouble with Penn And Teller as a source is the show is, well Bullshit!. There's some good stuff but it's extremely biased and each episode clearly has an agenda. Even Penn Jillette has said prettty much as much (Teller was silent on the matter)
    • coming soon...
      New & Improved Polygraph: Now with 100% more butt-probe to detect butt cheek squeezing cheaters.

  • by George Maschke (699175) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:07AM (#45422101) Homepage
    I should have mentioned in the original post that investigative reporter Marisa Taylor of the McClatchy newspaper group has a PGP public key (7DCA14DC) [mit.edu] that can be used to securely contact her. I've signed it with my own key (316A947C) [mit.edu].
  • Surely he's sold more than 5,000 copies of that book. Books on noodling (an activity primarily carried out by illiterate people) sell more than 5,000.
  • I thought this country was secured by constitutional right to privacy from registering individual book reading/buying.

  • Easy! convince yourself deep down that your lie is in fact not a lie. With enough training, you can internally legitimize even the most absurd nonsense you can think of. There are 6 million Mormons, living proof.

    WiN!

    • by PPH (736903)

      There are 6 million Mormons,

      Sure. You'll take on the Mormons and the combined might of the Federal law enforcement bureaucracy.

      Prove you're a tough guy and insult the CoS.

      • by Entropius (188861)

        which is funny, because the Scientologists already use ohmmeters in their "auditing"...

        "Here, hold these soup cans, and we'll help you be a god!"

  • Just more ammunition to justify a search warrant should they so desire. Pretty soon, we'll all be on a list of one sort or another.

    Not on a list, you say? We have a list of your kind!

  • Every government wants to know who read books they don't approve of. Libraries (and library software) carefully protect borrower privacy by only keeping borrowers names recorded with the book borrowed until they have been returned.

    This is the law in several privacy-protective countries, and to sell software, you have to adhere to the law. Other countries don't prohibit privacy, so the software is saleable everywhere.

    --dave

  • If writers now feel it necessary to inform us when someone with whom any state employee is not perfectly pleased has not been arrested, we are in a sorry state indeed.

  • by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @09:59AM (#45422537) Homepage

    That should be the first question that crosses everybody's mind.

    Put people on a watch list for doing something 100% legal? Sign me up.

    Not only does it show those idiots we won't support that sort of nonsense (by which I mean the watch lists, although using a polygraph probably counts too) but it also drown them in noise, hopefully making the use of the list pointless.

    And to answer my own question: you can place your order at Polygraph.com [polygraph.com], with prices ranging from $20 to $60 dollars. I don't know (or care) if his methods are effective or not but it's worth shelling out a few bucks just to remind self-important lawmen that their thuggery not only is not going unnoticed, but is ultimately also is ineffective.

  • As this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_fingerprinting [wikipedia.org] article shows there is an alternative that works. Note: I am an acquaintance of Farwell.

  • by Doug Williams (3432038) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @12:34PM (#45423948)
    I have proved the polygraph is worthless as a "lie detector" - truthful people are often called liars and I can teach anyone how to control every tracing on the chart in a matter of minutes! Go to my website polygraph.com for more information about that. But, since all the scientific evidence shows there is no such thing as a "lie detector", wouldn't responsible policy makers in the government stop the use of the polygraph if they were aware of these problems? One would think they would, but the sad fact is they already know all these things - they have known since at least 1985 when I testified in Congress and got the EMPLOYEE POLYGRAPH PROTECTION ACT passed into law, (the EPPA outlawed the use of the polygraph in private industry). I testified in the U.S. Congress in support of the EPPA. Click here to read a transcript of my testimony: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015011381806;view=1up;seq=281 [hathitrust.org] (My testimony begins on pg 275) Here is an interesting piece of historical trivia: When I testified in Congress, I put my manual, HOW TO STING THE POLYGRAPH into the Congressional Record, and the Senators and Representatives distributed more copies of my manual between 1984 and 1988 than anyone has ever distributed - including me! They sent them out by the tens of thousands in response to requests from constituents. (I wonder if they are going to get that "list" too?) But, there were exclusions written into the law that allowed the government - local state and federal - to continue to use the polygraph. They attempt to justify these exclusions on the grounds that the government needs this tool to protect national security and the law enforcement officials need it to protect the integrity of the criminal justice system. I have proved the polygraph is not a "lie detector" - the Congress, the Justice Department, the OTA, and all those with any scientific credibility agree with me - so there is no justification for the government to continue to use it on the pretext that it protects our national security or the integrity of the criminal justice system. But, knowing the polygraph is worthless as a "lie detector", knowing that people were wrongly accused of lying, and knowing that many were abused by polygraph operators asking illegal questions was still not enough to convince government agencies to stop using the polygraph. In fact, these agencies demanded that they be excluded from this law in order to "protect national security" and to "assure the integrity of law enforcement and the criminal justice system". The lawmakers caved and allowed the exclusions to be written into the law because that was the only way to be assured that even the watered down version prohibiting the polygraph in the private sector would pass. Why do government agencies still staunchly defend the use of the polygraph and even harass, intimidate and try to punish me for proving the polygraph is not a "lie detector" by demonstrating that I can teach anyone to easily control the results of the "test"? Why do they do everything in their power to prevent any information that discredits the "lie detector" from being exposed? Why do they intimidate applicants and others who are required to submit to polygraph "testing" by monitoring their internet activity and punishing them for educating themselves about the polygraph? Why does the government love to use this "Frankenstein's Monster", (a description given to the polygraph by its inventor Dr. Larson)? And why do they insist on continuing to use it? It is FOOLISH and DANGEROUS to use the polygraph as "lie detector" - the theory of "lie detection" is nothing but junk science. It is based on a faulty scientific premise. The polygraph operators have the audacity to say that there is such a thing as a "reaction indicative of deception", when I can prove that "lying reaction" is simply a nervous reaction commonly referred to as the fight or flight syndrome. In fact, the polygraph is nothing but a psychological billy c
  • by Doug Williams (3432038) on Thursday November 14, 2013 @01:09PM (#45424240)
    It has been free to the public since I testified in the U.S. Congress in support of the EPPA. Click here to read a transcript of my testimony: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015011381806;view=1up;seq=281 [hathitrust.org] (My testimony begins on pg 275) Here is an interesting piece of historical trivia: When I testified in Congress, I put my manual, HOW TO STING THE POLYGRAPH into the Congressional Record, and the Senators and Representatives distributed more copies of my manual between 1984 and 1988 than anyone has ever distributed - including me! They sent them out by the tens of thousands in response to requests from constituents. I wonder if the Feds will get all that "list" from Congress? You can also get it by simply Googling HOW TO STING THE POLYGRAPH. I am constantly updating it and I must charge a small amount to maintain my website and keep updating the manual, so I charge for the updated version.

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