Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Feds Target Instructors of Polygraph-Beating Methods

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the also-seen-confiscating-crystal-balls-and-dowsing-rods dept.

Government 282

schwit1 writes "Federal agents have launched a criminal investigation of instructors who claim they can teach job applicants how to pass lie detector tests as part of the Obama administration's unprecedented crackdown on security violators and leakers. The criminal inquiry, which hasn't been acknowledged publicly, is aimed at discouraging criminals and spies from infiltrating the U.S. government by using the polygraph-beating techniques, which are said to include controlled breathing, muscle tensing, tongue biting and mental arithmetic. So far, authorities have targeted at least two instructors, one of whom has pleaded guilty to federal charges, several people familiar with the investigation told McClatchy. Investigators confiscated business records from the two men, which included the names of as many as 5,000 people who'd sought polygraph-beating advice. U.S. agencies have determined that at least 20 of them applied for government and federal contracting jobs, and at least half of that group was hired, including by the National Security Agency. By attempting to prosecute the instructors, federal officials are adopting a controversial legal stance that sharing such information should be treated as a crime and isn't protected under the First Amendment in some circumstances."

cancel ×

282 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Only if they have a phrenology test (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593227)

I mean if we are going to go with the crackpot solutions we wouldnt want phrenology to feel left out, i believe it has some valuable insight and wait till i tell you about alchemy and auras.

Re:Only if they have a phrenology test (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44593273)

What, no jobs for ESPers? What kinda prejudiced quackery is that?

Re:Only if they have a phrenology test (4, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44593497)

Well, the horoscope said it was a bad time to hire psychics.

Re:Only if they have a phrenology test (0)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#44593569)

Live Free or Die, Bitches!

United Snakes or Divided Fates? It's anyone's guess.

Re:Only if they have a phrenology test (1)

TarPitt (217247) | about a year ago | (#44593885)

There were plenty of DoD specifically for ESPers at one point:

[wikipedia.org] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stargate_Project [wikipedia.org]

As long as you didn't mind staring at goats

Re:Only if they have a phrenology test (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593593)

Phrenology is a bad example for crackpot science: in a time when all psychology was still stated in religious terms such as "soul" it was one of the first attempts to come up with something rational & measurable.

Phrenology turned out to be wrong, because it was falsifiable. Mainstream psychology at that time wasn't even wrong.

Re:Only if they have a phrenology test (0, Troll)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | about a year ago | (#44593649)

I still don't understand why people assume monitoring breathing, heart rate, and skin conductivity is a 'crackpot' solution. There is a scientific basis behind it, unlike most actual 'crackpot' areas. It doesn't ALWAYS work, and it's (clearly) beatable, but it's still a science.

It's not like they're praying to the aliens in orbit to read the person's mind and tell them if they're lying or not.

Re:Only if they have a phrenology test (5, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | about a year ago | (#44593675)

The only science that's been found to be behind it is that people are slightly less likely to lie if they think that a lie detector will call them out on it.

Monitoring breathing, et al, doesn't mean it is capable of detecting lies. Me saying "molecules", "atoms", and "memory" doesn't make homeopathy have a science between it either...

Nah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593231)

I don't believe them.

Oh Americans (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593237)

Oh Americans and their liberty - hail our new Polymorphic overloards.
Discussing how to avoid them is a crime.
They should come for martial arts instructors too, can be used to escape the police [state] :)

It would be fun to have instruction for such avoidance discussed on Darknets like Freenet or i2p forum.

Re:Oh Americans (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44593567)

I don't think the "polymorphic overlords" are here yet... unless Obama really is a giant weasel and not just pretending to be one.

First the came for the poly dudes (2, Interesting)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year ago | (#44593243)

But I was not a poly dude [wikipedia.org] , so I was all: 'Meh'.
Then they came for the yoga instructors, since relaxation is where it's at, and I was kinda: 'Urf?'
Then they came for my surf board.

Oh man, oh man (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593247)

The Obama admin is sure pulling out all the stops on the full retard organ, this time.

Re:Oh man, oh man (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44593357)

This comment is offensive to retarded people. They shouldn't be tainted with the same brush as jackbooted thugs.

Re:Oh man, oh man (2)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year ago | (#44593447)

This comment is offensive to retarded people. They shouldn't be tainted with the same brush as jackbooted thugs.

Also an insult to lump them in with people that believe in polygraph, dowsing and homeopathy.

Re:Oh man, oh man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593919)

They shouldn't be tainted with the same brush....

Tell me more about this taintbrush.

woot! first! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593249)

woot, first!

Re:woot! first! (-1, Offtopic)

grub (11606) | about a year ago | (#44593389)

You lie!

Be interesting if the course were a book (2)

transporter_ii (986545) | about a year ago | (#44593259)

Be interesting if the course were a book and they sold it on Amazon instead of teaching a class. Make the 1st Amendment kick in a little harder.

Re:Be interesting if the course were a book (5, Informative)

transporter_ii (986545) | about a year ago | (#44593371)

A quick search on Amazon turned up:

How to Beat a Lie Detector Test (Secrets Series) by Steve Gillman (Jul 20, 2010)
Beat the box: The insider's guide to outwitting the lie detector by Vlad Kalashnikov (1983)
Deception Detection: Winning The Polygraph Game by Charles Clifton (May 1991)

Re:Be interesting if the course were a book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593717)

Be interesting if the course were a book and they sold it on Amazon instead of teaching a class. Make the 1st Amendment kick in a little harder.

RTFA. It suggests that prosecution is possible only if the instructor has specific knowledge that one of his students intends to use the abilities taught to hide evidence of a criminal offence, so clearly authors of a book would not be prosecutable in this fashion.

Re:Be interesting if the course were a book (3, Informative)

TarPitt (217247) | about a year ago | (#44593903)

"Applied Cryptography" used exactly this method when crypto algorithms were subject to export controls.

You couldn't export say the source code for DES, but you could include the source code in a book on crypto, as first amendment protections applied.

The first amendment even protected use of an OCR friendly font for the source code.

How about (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593261)

Just admitting that Polygraphs are not reliable indicators of truthfulness?

Re:How about (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44593477)

According to an NAS study, they're something like 85% reliable. The problem with an 85% reliable test is that it will produce a lot of false positives and false negatives. People you should have hired will be screened out and people you shouldn't have hired will be accepted. Older-fashioned methods work better. Interview the person, the family members, long time acquaintences and co-workers. Ask open-ended questions about the person's relationships, how they work with others, how they view authority, what they do in the community, etc. You'll discover anything that's relevant before long.

Subjecting people to lie detectors is all about threats and intimidation. They probably deter more bad people from even applying than they screen out in the test, but they also deter good people who have no confidence in polygraphs. But those people are also detered by the prospect of somebody prying into their life like they do in DOD type security screenings.

Re:How about (5, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44593531)

Lie detectors are 100% reliable. If I see one at a job interview, it is a sure sign that I don't want to work there.

Re:How about (5, Insightful)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year ago | (#44593577)

And lets look at this 85% reliability more carefully.

Supposing you have 1,000,000 non-terrorists and 100 terrorists. You ask them if the are a terrorist, and use the lie detector to determine whether or not they are telling the truth. Everyone says they are not a terrorist. The lie detector will identify 150,085 people as terrorists, of which only 85 are actually terrorists. In otherwords, if the lie detector says you are a terrorist, there is a 0.057% probability that you are actually a terrorist.

How do these figures work?

Of the 1,000,000 non-terrorists, it will correctly identify 850,000 of them as being non-terrorists, and incorrectly identify 150,000 as being terrorists. Of the 100 terrorists, it will correctly identify 85 of them as being terrorists, and incorrectly identify 15 of them as not being terrorists. A total of 150,085 people identified as terrorists, only 85 actually are.

Re:How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593789)

Does this mean that lawyers can be also charged with subverting the course of justice by teaching their clients how to answer questions on the stand?

How can this be against the law is what I want to know?
- http://www.LiveCourtChat.com

Re:How about (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593647)

According to an NAS study, they're something like 85% reliable.

According to the American Psychological Association, "There is no evidence that any pattern of physiological reactions is unique to deception. [...] polygraph research has not separated placebo-like effects (the subject's belief in the efficacy of the procedure) from the actual relationship between deception and their physiological responses [...] virtually no research assesses the type of test and procedure used to screen individuals for jobs and security clearances [...] Most psychologists and other scientists agree that there is little basis for the validity of polygraph tests."

The 85% figure you quote refers to what is called "specific incident testing", i.e. investigating whether the subject performed some particular action about which details are known. This is not the kind of testing used in security clearance tests of the kind discussed by TFA; those tests are a whole lot less reliable.

Re: How about (3, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#44593495)

"Just admitting that Polygraphs are not reliable indicators of truthfulness?"

If they do that, they have to stop using the non-functioning bomb- detectors as well, we can't have that!

Protecting a lie (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593265)

IALA

The real crime here is that law enforcement agencies are using such a notoriously unreliable [apa.org] technology for investigatory and evidentiary purposes. Polygraphs have absolutely no place in the modern justice system.

So it's come to this (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44593285)

Finally, we have a case for information being outlawed.

Re:So it's come to this (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | about a year ago | (#44593317)

I've had a website devoted to alternative cancer treatments almost since the start of the Internet. I wonder if they will knock, or just kick the door in?

Re:So it's come to this (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year ago | (#44593391)

Well, kicking the door in is just an advanced form of knocking.

Re:So it's come to this (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44593541)

Well, kicking the door in is just an advanced form of knocking.

Jusk ask Chuck Norris.

Re:So it's come to this (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year ago | (#44593821)

I've had a website devoted to alternative cancer treatments almost since the start of the Internet. I wonder if they will knock, or just kick the door in?

You have it exactly backwards. Polygraphs *and* "alternative [anything]" are the fakes. It's more like, if I published a book on why so-called alternative treatments were complete bunkum (which they are) and the Feds wanted to shut me down.
As Iain whatsisname said, "If it worked, we'd call it a treatment. It's called 'alternative treatment' because it DOESN'T."

Re:So it's come to this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593629)

Finally, we have a case for information being outlawed.

Do you know what the charges are? I know you don't, I was just wondering out loud.

Obstructing an agency proceeding and wire fraud? (1)

lamer01 (1097759) | about a year ago | (#44593287)

Really? Talk about overreaching....

Re:Obstructing an agency proceeding and wire fraud (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#44593379)

Wire fraud is a great crime.

Basically it captures any thing in the internet which even might involve money at some point, e.g. fines for copyright infringement, payment for services. And has huge maximum terms. So since almost everything involves money at some point and many things happen over the internet it allows them to add almost arbitrarily long sentances to something that would otherwise get almost nothing.

Basically the perfect legislation as far as they are concerned.

Teaching someone to beat pseudoscience? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593289)

No. There are no machines and no experts that can detect with a high degree of accuracy when people, selected randomly, are lying and when they are telling the truth. [skepdic.com]

So DOJ, WTF are you going to do to those of us who think these things are full of shit?

Arrest us for saying the emperor has no clothes?

If I were ever ordered to take the test, I would agree and offer to take a palm reading test, hand writing test, and a Phrenology [wikipedia.org] test - I'll even shave my head to make it easier!

Now, can I have the job?

QL'EB? (3, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44593295)

It's like attacking tarot readers for claiming they can work out when palmists are making shit up.

Tightening the fist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593305)

Prosecutors plan to ask for prison time even though Dixon has agreed to cooperate, has no criminal record and has four young children. The maximum sentence for the two charges is 25 years in prison.

âoeThe emotional and financial burden has been staggering,â Dixon said. âoeNever in my wildest dreams did I somehow imagine I was committing a crime.â

If you want to teach polygraph countermeasures, you should get a law degree first.

Polygraphs (5, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#44593319)

Why the hell are polygraphs still being used in the 21st century? They aren't admissible in a court of law for a damned good reason. They are junk science and no better than a voodoo board. The only thing they do is tell whether or not your nervous. They are a perfect example of something that provides a false sense of security as Ames and your other famous spies all /passed/ their lie detector tests. These things need placed in the museum of junk science post haste.

Re:Polygraphs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593373)

So is alternative medicine, doesn't stop idiots from dismissing all evidence that goes against it.

Re:Polygraphs (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#44593421)

There's a reason people sell alternative medicine as herbal supplements. This way you sidestep the FDA and get to avoid any type of medical scrutiny. It's a legal way of selling snake oil. They need to change the law so that herbal supplements, homeopathic and the like all require FDA approval before making claims.

The funny thing is a lot of our medicine did trace back to these old practices. However with medical science they were able to find the parts that actually worked, study them and those get submitted as medicines. The rest are modern snake oils that take consumers in for billions of dollars every year.

Re:Polygraphs (2)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year ago | (#44593595)

That is the case in Europe. They still sell all the stuff, but there is nothing at the point of sale to say what it is supposed to do.

Re:Polygraphs (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#44593737)

That is the case in Europe. They still sell all the stuff, but there is nothing at the point of sale to say what it is supposed to do.

The thing is that at one time our FDA operated in the same fashion. Their only goal was to ensure the safety of the product, not its efficacy.

But then the large pharmaceutical companies lobbied to corrupt the system, pushing for the requirement that efficacy also be proven. The reason for this is as both an expensive barrier to entry as well as a delay tactic.

If there's evidence of efficency (1)

goldcd (587052) | about a year ago | (#44593573)

Then it wouldn't be alternate, would it?

Re:If there's evidence of efficency (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year ago | (#44593913)

Yes. It would. You are leaving out the profit part of the equation. For example Licorice Root works as a decent antibiotic. Guess how much money Big Pharm makes if you use Licorice Root, as I have successfully done on multiple occasions.

Re:Polygraphs (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year ago | (#44593893)

There is plenty of alternative medicine that works just fine; in some cases it works better. I used to take 150mg of Zantac twice a day due to GERD. I needed it every day for years. At some point someone turned me on to Cayenne pepper tablets. I took them before meals for a short period of time and guess what ... I didn't need Zantac anymore. This is but one of hundreds of examples. Evidently you weren't aware that a great deal of medicine is created by taking a chemical that occurs in nature, tweaking the molecule so they can patent it, and charging your insurance company an arm and a leg for it (excuse the pun.) Off the top of my head, one medicine that is a direct derivative of naturally occurring chemicals is Aspirin [about.com] .

Re:Polygraphs (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44593401)

They're more useful as a scare technique since the common man thinks they work well.

They're also useful, like the "anonymous" tip, to generate further trumped-up reason to investigate someone.

Re:Polygraphs (1)

LetterRip (30937) | about a year ago | (#44593475)

Why the hell are polygraphs still being used in the 21st century? They aren't admissible in a court of law for a damned good reason. They are junk science and no better than a voodoo board.

Voodoo is a rather apt analogy. The reason they are used is that they help amplify the belief of the individual that they will get caught in a lie. Thus the reason the FBI are angry is that this teaching will negate the belief that you'll get caught and defeats the psychological manipulation.

Ie if the vooodoo man casts a hex on you, and you believe in voodoo - then you might engage in behavior that makes the hex self fulfilling; but if another voodoo man sells you a talisman to ward off the hex - your belief in the second voodoo man cancels the belief in the first voodoo man.

Re:Polygraphs (2, Interesting)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#44593511)

The only thing they do is tell whether or not your nervous.

Not even nervous. I took a polygraph (well, voice stress analysis) as part of the hiring process for a fairly large metropolitan police force (with a Masters degree I would have started out at roughly $45k per year base, as opposed to the roughly 25k I am making at my current job. Yay shitty economy). One question was so absurd (have I ever hired a prostitute) that I laughed as I replied in the negative. Of course the readout then showed "stress" in my voice. However the baseline tests (which were the exact same questions)showed I was being truthful. In the end, after going through the whole hiring process, passing the physical test and everything, they decided not to hire me. In the end I think it was a good thing though, because this particular police department is not the most reputable in my city, and now I can see why.

Re:Polygraphs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593579)

Why is that question absurd? Many people have hired prostitutes?

Re:Polygraphs (1)

jopsen (885607) | about a year ago | (#44593663)

Why is that question absurd? Many people have hired prostitutes?

And in many places it's perfectly legal to do so... Furthermore, if you asked me that question at an interview, I'm sure my union would smell blood a sue the hell out of you...
Though to be fair, my union would probably sue you over the mere suggestion that I submit to a polygraph test :)

In many countries it is very limited what details about a candidates personal life you are allowed to inquire about, as any such inquiry opens you to law suits for discrimination, should you choose not the hire the candidate for any reason what so ever.

Our President (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593321)

Is now more immoral and corrupt than his predecessor. That is quite a feat for anyone.

Re:Our President (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593553)

But less corrupt that the guy he was running against, both times. So what are you going to do?

Re:Our President (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44593745)

That will never be proven. And the degree of corruption is hardly important.

Bad summary is bad. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593325)

They aren't arresting people for just teaching the methods. The instructor they arrested had trained two undercover agents posing as criminals that wanted to lie on the exam. One was a drug trafficker and the other a correctional officer that smuggled drugs into prison and received sexual favors from an underage girl. The instructor taught them how to cover up those crimes. Seems pretty simple to me. If you say you want to rob a bank, and I give you a gun to do it I'm criminally liable for it. Why isn't fraud the same? It would be one thing if the instructor didn't know they were criminals, but he did. The summary makes it sound as if they're wantonly arresting people.

Re:Bad summary is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593393)

But they were not criminals, the lied to the instructor, so the instuctor was training liars not criminals.

Re:Bad summary is bad. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593459)

It doesn't matter. The law applies in cases where you know they are criminals or believe them to be criminals. What you're saying is that undercover investigations don't work ever. Police put undercovers out on the street for prostitution stings all the time. You're still guilty even though the person was not a prostitute. You thought they were and if they had been you would have done it.

Liars to fedgov ARE criminal (2)

Etherwalk (681268) | about a year ago | (#44593927)

But they were not criminals, the lied to the instructor, so the instuctor was training liars not criminals.

Lies to fedgov are not protected by the first amendment, and fedgov makes job applicants waive their rights anyway. It is a crime to lie on a security clearance application, and a crime to lie to a federal agent. Helping someone lie to a federal agent is therefore also a crime.

Seems to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593399)

The problem is in the government not doing better record keeping.

If one guy was a (I assume convicted) drug smuggler, they should've had records of this.

If the other guy got favors from an underage girl, ditto.

If not, then why did they need to lie about it any way?

Re:Seems to me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593471)

They were undercover agents and that was their story. The instructor believed them to be criminals and knowingly taught them to hide that information from a polygrapher.

Re:Seems to me... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44593535)

By your reasoning defense attorneys are also guilty of "knowingly [teaching] them to hide that information".

Re:Seems to me... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593583)

No. First, defendants normally don't take the stand. Second, if they do, the attorney cannot tell them to lie (like this instructor did). If a defense attorney tells them to lie he's guilty of suborning perjury. They can spin facts and frame things but they cannot tell their client to lie. If you were at the location in question an attorney cannot tell his client to say you weren't there. The instructors in this case said "lie." Defense attorneys don't tell their client to lie, what they normally do is say, "tell me what happened." Which just means "lie to me then I'll try and make it work even though it won't because what you're about to say won't make any sense and by the way you're not testifying." But again, even though they might think their client is lying they don't know for sure. If the client said no I really wasn't at home I was there the attorney can't say we'll go with you not being there. They can't. It doesn't mean they don't, but the law says they can't. But just because defense attorneys get away with it doesn't mean everyone should.

Re:Bad summary is bad. (1)

sqlrob (173498) | about a year ago | (#44593415)

Except they don't use polygraphs in criminal investigations, so what's the problem?

Re:Bad summary is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593761)

Sure they do. Even if the results of the polygraph can't be presented in court, police departments still maintain special polygraph rooms and employ analysts. Watch a few episodes of The First 48 and you'll see murder suspects voluntarily subjecting themselves to polygraphs. They aren't just a psychological tool to get confessions, the cops appear to believe in them and consider their results when determining suspects.

Re:Bad summary is bad. (5, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44593485)

Yes it sounds like they're going after them for conspiracy rather than simply teaching these techniques, which is the sort of legal technicality beloved of prosecutors, but you're missing the bigger point. This is not analogous to someone selling a gun to a person who says they want to rob a bank; it's analogous to letting someone take your chemistry class even though they say they want to make a bomb to blow open a bank safe. This is stopping the dissemination of information because it could be used for nefarious purposes.

Additionally, the undercover agents said that they already did commit these crimes, not that they were planning on using these techniques to commit crimes in the future. If potentially helping somebody to beat the charges is a crime, then why are defense attorneys legal?

Re:Bad summary is bad. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593533)

They weren't taking the class to beat the crime. They were taking it to get a job in federal service. That means the crime of fraud is about to be committed. Defense attorneys defend past crimes not future ones. If these agents went to an attorney and said, "I committed these crimes, but I want a job in federal service how do I beat the lie detector by hiding these?" and he helped them he would be guilty of fraud or conspiracy or whatever your jurisdiction says.

People seem to be confusing what's going on here. The agents posed as criminals that wanted to hide their past to receive a benefit. It's fraud, and the instructor taught them for the purpose of committing fraud. This isn't new territory. If I claimed to have a purple heart, I can. I can go on TV and claim it. I can go to veteran functions and claim it. But once I attempt to receive a benefit based upon that fraudulent claim I am guilty of fraud. The agents were trying to lie (hiding criminal infractions that prohibit them from public service) to receive a benefit (employment). It's fraud, and anyone knowingly assisting them to achieve such criminal goals is guilty. If the instructor didn't know about the past then he's clear. But he did.

Re:Bad summary is bad. (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year ago | (#44593557)

They aren't arresting people for just teaching the methods. The instructor they arrested had trained two undercover agents posing as criminals that wanted to lie on the exam. One was a drug trafficker and the other a correctional officer that smuggled drugs into prison... ...The summary makes it sound as if they're wantonly arresting people.

Those cases are what they're citing as justification (for what they're worth, which isn't much), but you're missing the main point, which was made earlier in the article that you appear to have actually read(!)

I'll remind you:

By attempting to prosecute the instructors, federal officials are adopting a controversial legal stance that sharing such information should be treated as a crime and isn’t protected under the First Amendment in some circumstances.

Re:Bad summary is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593635)

That's the point after taking the slippery slope argument. The article assumes that the requirement the instructor helping someone lie for a benefit will be removed then just teaching it will be a crime. It might happen, but right now the people being prosecuted are committing fraud (or whatever your jurisdiction says. Mine says if you assist pre-crime you are a principle so in this case they'd be charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud). That's why I said the summary is bad. The situation isn't that all instructors are being arrested only ones that knowingly teach people to lie. That means they have to know 1) the person is a criminal or somehow barred from doing what they intend to do, and 2) aids them to hide said factor to attain a benefit. If it seems really easy to work around it is. Just don't ask questions of your clients. I don't know why he did that in the first place. And if someone says I'm a criminal and I want to hide that fact then kick them out. There are a lot of industries that skirt this line everyday. It's not hard to avoid.

Re:Bad summary is bad. (2)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44593609)

They aren't arresting people for just teaching the methods. The instructor they arrested had trained two undercover agents posing as criminals that wanted to lie on the exam. One was a drug trafficker and the other a correctional officer that smuggled drugs into prison and received sexual favors from an underage girl. The instructor taught them how to cover up those crimes. Seems pretty simple to me. If you say you want to rob a bank, and I give you a gun to do it I'm criminally liable for it. Why isn't fraud the same? It would be one thing if the instructor didn't know they were criminals, but he did. The summary makes it sound as if they're wantonly arresting people.

Thing is... robbing a bank is a crime. Lying on a job interview isn't.

Re: Bad summary is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593917)

What about the guy that sold the bank robbers the masks or the guy that sold them a car? Also I doubt they told the polygraph us exactly what they wanted to lie about (if they did then yes, this even more stupid than the polygraphs themselves).

But isn't the real point.... (2, Insightful)

3seas (184403) | about a year ago | (#44593329)

...Polygraphs can be beaten and as such are not reliable!
Deniability is man most powerful tool. So really its all about abstraction. What definition do you apply to the questions or do you simply deny the questioner over your own internal thoughts?

The ability of beat a polygraph might actually be a quality the government is looking for....... considering all the lies they have told and certainly spying would find the ability to beat a polygraph an asset.

So you see, its really all null and void this polygraph issue.

Now what more does anyone need to consider in their mental state to beat a polygraph?

20th Century Witchcraft (5, Informative)

rwyoder (759998) | about a year ago | (#44593333)

Over the years I've seen 3 investigative reports on TV, and read many articles on the topic. It all comes down to the same thing: The polygraph is just a stage prop in an interrogation, for the purpose of scaring the ignorant into confessing. Here is Penn & Tellers report:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NLf7XwLpyQ [youtube.com]

Polygraphs don't work. They should use e-meters. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593423)

Free gullibility test [youtube.com]

why it works.. sorta.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593343)

I think the only reason it kinda works is that people believe it works. If you know you may need to take a polygraph in the future you may be less likely to do something bad. Of course whether that makes it worth performing is a topic of debate. The process is very costly and weeds out good candidates unfairly.

Would have had to charge many of my co-workers (1)

StatureOfLiberty (1333335) | about a year ago | (#44593349)

I worked in electronics sales in the early 80s. In San Antonio, TX at the time you had to take a polygraph to work almost anywhere (for example, Radio Shack was one). As soon as I was hired in most places, my new co-workers started telling me how to beat the polygraph. (I had no reason to worry, but they told me anyway). In the end I found out that many of these folks were robbing the employer blind. And all had passed a polygraph.

Of course, your ability to beat the polygraph probably has a lot to do with who was administering the test. Since so manyl employers back then required polygraphs, you ended up with a bunch of 'Polygraph Marts' who had people administering the tests who really weren't qualified to do so.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593351)

...there is free speech as long as you speek about that we allow. Right the first amend is like toilet paper. The same happens in the rest of "civilized" countries. This is like Matrix, we are slaves and we don't know it.

McCarthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593369)

Voodoo "science" plus intimidation and relentless persecution of people who expose the charlatanery by teaching people how to circumvent it. All hail mammon!

Streisand Effect, anyone? (5, Informative)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | about a year ago | (#44593375)

Let's spread the news of how to beat polygraphs as widely as possible. Now we have the government banning it, that makes it desirable knowledge, OK?

From TFA: "Charles Honts, a psychology professor at Boise State University, said laboratory studies he’d conducted showed that countermeasures could be taught in one-on-one sessions to about 25 percent of the people who were tested. Polygraphers have no reliable way to detect someone who’s using the techniques, he said. In fact, he concluded that a significant number of people are wrongfully accused."
Mirror these sites and anything else you feel relevant
http://www.wikihow.com/Cheat-a-Polygraph-Test-(Lie-Detector) [wikihow.com]
https://antipolygraph.org/articles/article-034.shtml [antipolygraph.org]

So (4, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44593441)

> Investigators confiscated business records from the two men, which included the names of as many as
> 5,000 people who'd sought polygraph-beating advice.

Which was, of course, the real goal. Much like seizing the records of companies that sell hydroponics equipment.

So what has this incident taught these instructors, whether they be good or evil?

1. Cash-only and don't use records.
2. If someone says they want to do evil, give them their money back and kick them from the class. Otherwise, don't ask, don't tell.

Feds Instructors of Polygraph-Beating Methods (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44593499)

Is what I read. As in, teaching how to get the desired polygraph results from a suspect through beating

CI/Lifestyle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593503)

Anyone working the defense industry has probably undergone one of these polygraphs, they seem just mostly a nuisance and they just seem to give ou false positives. Feels like everybody understands that it is bullshit however it is a requirement for higher access depending on the program/customer

Obama no like being ratted out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593509)

The bastard needs to be tried for treason not handled with gloves.

Why not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593525)

Why aren't they just injecting applicants with Sodium Pentothal instead? I mean seems like a lot less work and the applicants can get high at the same time.

Soon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593547)

Soon it will be illegal to possess and teach computer security related skills.
Then cryptography will be made backdoored by default or illegal.

Stack your weapons before the big show.
Some skill will prove very valuable for survival in the near future.

I hope they succeed (1)

houghi (78078) | about a year ago | (#44593561)

We can not have foreigners spying on our people. These jobs should not go to foreigners. They belong to Americans. They should spy on our people.

(Uh wait!)

USA! USA! USA!

(Phew, that was close.)

Every psychopath will pass the polygraph (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593575)

These machines, clumsily, register the level of tension/nervousness, of the person being interrogated. Psychopaths don't display any of those signs (it's why they can lie so convincingly).

In a way, the polygraph test gives a huge advantage to psychopaths.

Meta-Crime? (1)

Pope Raymond Lama (57277) | about a year ago | (#44593585)

The TFS gives away the "criminal" practices - "polygraph-beating techniques, which are said to include controlled breathing, muscle tensing, tongue biting and mental arithmetic. " - so now they will come after /. as well... :-)

And maybe, commenters who quote TFS...

Fortunately when the sit me down for interrogation, now I know all that is needed is byte the tongue for not giving away the ID numbers of my fellow /.ers; So, don't worry!

If you just posted that poligraphs are crap... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593621)

...the feds are coming for you!

Maybe they are not as dumb as we think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593655)

Perhaps the real reason they continue to use polygraphs is to dissuade people who think they actually work from lying. They may simply crack under the pressure of questioning and the polygraph is there to apply additional pressure. I guess it's just too disturbing for me to believe that the government thinks they actually work in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.

Hitchhiker's Guide to Becoming a Police State (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year ago | (#44593679)

Step 1: claim to champion freedom of speech, but oppress it when is inconvenient for the establishment.

Are they going to go after that episode of P&T's Bullshit where they say you can beat the box by clenching your ass?

So when are they going to target... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593699)

... the "church" of scientology?

Uh... so let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593767)

They're charging people with federal crimes for teaching... essentially... yoga techniques and methods for lasting longer in bed with a woman???

Unbelievable.

Unrelated Charges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593787)

The Federal Charges don't have to do with teaching people polygraph beating techniques. They pretty explicitely admitted to just spying on them until they found something useful to charge them with.

Polygraphs aren't allowed in courts because they aren't completely accurate. Do they think SPIES will be the ones who will have trouble beating the polygraph?

Ames beat the polygraph with ONE SENTENCE of advice.

Free Speech (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year ago | (#44593861)

It's quite clear it no longer applies here. Unless your speech is 'state approved', better watch your back.

What crime? (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about a year ago | (#44593875)

Teaching someone how to beat a polygraph is not a crime.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>