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Full Details of My Attempted Entrapment For Teaching Polygraph Countermeasures 465

George Maschke writes "In May of this year, I was the target of an attempted entrapment, evidently in connection with material support for terrorism. Marisa Taylor of McClatchy reported briefly on this in August. I've now published a full public accounting, including the raw source of the e-mails received and the IP addresses involved. Comments from Slashdot readers more technically savvy than I are welcome."
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Full Details of My Attempted Entrapment For Teaching Polygraph Countermeasures

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  • by Lisias ( 447563 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @04:54PM (#45319803) Homepage Journal

    We would never have had PGP or encryption research outside government labs if everyone followed such rules.

    The way I see it, no one would be using encryption nowadays if Obama managed to be president in the nineties.

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Sunday November 03, 2013 @04:57PM (#45319831) Journal

    1) there is no such thing as a "lie detector". Polygraphs are voodoo.

    2) NEVER talk to the police. []



  • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @05:22PM (#45319975) Homepage

    So it's actually the WORST device in the world to use then.

    Because the people who you don't want to get into the job, the ones who know that it's a load of baloney and any idiot can "pass" the test, will. And the people who are innocent but have that "guilty fear" that comes with natural innocence will "fail".

    I'm sorry, but in my country, I'd laugh at you if you asked me to take one. And I'd probably be able to get you into the papers tomorrow in the funny section too, just to show you up. It's just that hilarious a concept. But then, to my knowledge, outside of very, very, very restricted professions we don't have work-prescribed drug testing or any of the other shit either (I don't do drugs, never have, but just the CONCEPT of someone demanding I take a drug test to work somewhere? Fuck off. And I work in education). When did your boss get to control your life?

    And for a job in a BANK? FFS. The US must be much more stupid than I suspected.

  • by jcochran ( 309950 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @05:47PM (#45320125)

    The answer to that question is quite simple. Some years back, I had to take a polygraph and frankly, it felt as if a "game" was being played where I didn't know the rules. There were some issues with my test so they rescheduled me for a followup. Since I didn't like the feeling that there was a game being played, I spent the time before the follow up researching polygraphy. Turns out that there's a lot of information on the subject and I also found out that there was a classified government study on the effectiveness of polygraphs. I didn't see the contents of that study, but [i]if[/i] that study reflected the information available in the public literature and [i]if[/i] I were to be a classification authority, I too would have classified the study. The reason is because the public literature boils down to the following.

    Polygraphy as a tool for distinguishing truth from lies is totally worthless. However, as a tool for eliciting voluntary confessions from naive subjects, it's quite effective.

    So as long as it's kept mysterious and secret, it's quite useful. But once the pool of naive subjects is gone (and they would be gone if the reality of polygraphy were widespread), then that tool becomes worthless.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @06:39PM (#45320473)

    "Despite the fact that most of the world knows this, there's still one country that thinks such things can be admissible in court."

    You don't mean the U.S., do you? Because to the best of my knowledge no jurisdiction in the U.S. allows polygraphs to be used as evidence against a defendant, without their consent. And they'd be stupid to consent.

    However, a positive polygraph result can be used in your favor, *IF* the judge will allow it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 03, 2013 @07:11PM (#45320693)

    CALEA (1994) was the bargain for foregoing the Clipper Chip (1993).

    That's no defense of CALEA. But it's worthwhile to get the history correct, because the politicians and officials who compromised in 1994 are going to want to know what they're going to get if you discard CALEA. Of course, it's unlikely CALEA is going anywhere.

    I've got no problem with CALEA.
    It's pretty basic and simple- if the local cops want to be able to tap a phone call real-time, they have to purchase a PRI (or other dedicated voice circuit) which will mirror the phone calls from the local telco over to their local office. If they want to actually get a tap, they have to submit a hardcopy court order to the telco showing a specific period they wish to eavesdrop, and the telco will mirror calls to them just for that number. The cops don't control what gets tapped or when it starts and ends.
    It's targeted and specific, they need a standard warrant, there are no secret courts, no mass data scooping, and telco's only have to setup the CALEA system if the local LE agencies request it. It's really not much different than sending a guy out with a lineman's suit to climb a pole or enter a junction box to manually tap the line... just quicker and far less expensive.

  • Re:Ha ha ha (Score:5, Interesting)

    by garyebickford ( 222422 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (cib73rag)> on Sunday November 03, 2013 @07:45PM (#45320889)

    Fah. I was only 14 when I did a comparative analysis of communism and capitalism. Having some background in electronics theory and associated systems approach, I was able to demonstrate that communism is always doomed, because it is not a stable economic system. All stable systems must have both positive and negative feedback loops. (The screech when you put a microphone too close to a speaker is one example of a runaway system, that finally blows something if not corrected.) The classic aphorism of communism is "too each according to his needs, from each according to his abilities". This is essentially two uncoupled, undamped systems with unlimited response - some people have "unlimited needs" and work the system; other people will be worked to death.

    I later discovered that in the real world, this lack of feedback in the economic system is dealt with in two ways - feedback through the political system (corruption of various sorts, political appointments, etc.), and through the black market - a hidden ad hoc capitalist mechanism, often with a political component (bribing the officials).

    So regardless of capitalism, communism is a dead end, and makes no mathematical, much less economic, sense. There is a kind of 'communism of the rich' which is analogous to what techies do with open source, and what Star Trek assumed due to the Replicator technology. It's basically, "to each according to his needs, there's plenty to go around."

    While capitalism has its issues, it is a dynamic complex adaptive system where the excesses can be curbed by _reasonable_ regulation. The complaints that Marx had back in the 1800s were in response to the excesses of what was basically a post-feudal era where companies were generally owned by one, or a small set, of people with zero requirement to take into account any public opinion, and could act as feudal barons. The rise of incorporation has moved capitalism increasingly toward an economically democratic model, where every company must take into account the political and economic environment.

    In practice, no communist government has resulted in 'free people', except in the sense (as an old Soviet joke goes), "we are free - to work ourselves to death"

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @07:51PM (#45320923)

    "Can't have those guys doing mind-numbingly boring jobs blowing off a little stress when they get home you know..."

    Here's an interesting point, though: drug screening for pot will likely become an illegal practice in Washington and Colorado. You can't fire or "not hire" somebody for doing something perfectly legal that has nothing to do with the job, if it isn't happening on the job.

    That is to say: hiring criteria has to be job-related. Appearance (clothing) can be job-related. Things you cay in public can (in some circumstances) be deemed job-related. But smoking a joint on your day off is in no way job-related. If it's also legal, then it's probably ILlegal for somebody to make it a hiring criterion (or grounds for firing).

  • by MaskedSlacker ( 911878 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @08:21PM (#45321053)

    Yes, and the people who first broke such rules nearly went to prison. That was your parent poster's point. If you want to be safe, kowtow to the powers that be like the obseqious peon they want you to be.

    Or, you know, fuck 'em with a rusty shiv.

  • by George Maschke ( 699175 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @09:10PM (#45321381) Homepage
    Thank you! Yes, I did look at the metadata associated with the PDF file, but haven't been able successful in deducing anything more from it. My replies were in Persian.
  • Re:We the people (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oreaq ( 817314 ) on Monday November 04, 2013 @09:49AM (#45324573)

    The Sanford Prison Experiment is a poster child for what was wrong with scientific psychology in most of the last century. Philip Zimbardo, knowingly or unknowingly, designed and implemented the experiment in such a way that he got exactly the results he wanted. The wiki [] lists some of the deficiencies:

    Zimbardo found it impossible to keep traditional scientific controls in place. He was unable to remain a neutral observer, since he influenced the direction of the experiment as the prison's superintendent. Conclusions and observations drawn by the experimenters were largely subjective and anecdotal, and the experiment would be difficult for other researchers to reproduce.

    Also look at how ethics committees changed their guidelines as a response to that experiment.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury