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Feds Seek Prison For Man Who Taught How To Beat a Polygraph

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the results-unreliable-except-when-we-rely-on-them dept.

Government 374

George Maschke writes "In a case with serious First Amendment implications, McClatchy reports that federal prosecutors are seeking a prison sentence for Chad Dixon of Indiana, who committed the crime of teaching people how to pass or beat a lie detector test. Some of his students passed polygraphs and went on to be hired by federal agencies. A pleading filed by prosecutors all but admits that polygraph tests can be beaten. The feds have also raided and seized business records from Doug Williams, who has taught many more people how to pass or beat a polygraph over the past 30 years. Williams has not been criminally charged. I'm a co-founder of AntiPolygraph.org (we suggest using Tor to access the site) a non-profit, public interest website dedicated to exposing and ending waste, fraud, and abuse associated with the use of lie detectors. We offer a free e-book, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (1 mb PDF) that explains how to pass a polygraph (whether or not one is telling the truth). We make this information available not to help liars beat the system, but to provide truthful people with a means of protecting themselves against the high risk of a false positive outcome. As McClatchy reported last week, I received suspicious e-mails earlier this year that seemed like an attempted entrapment. Rather than trying to criminalize teaching people how to pass a polygraph, isn't it time our government re-evaluated its reliance on the pseudoscience of polygraphy?"

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Pseudoscience debunked? (5, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44724031)

That's like going to jail for teaching people where to hit their head to pass a phrenology test...

Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (4, Insightful)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44724087)

Or for helping people spot the patterns needed to pass an IQ test, &c. &c.

Psychology is a very young science that nevertheless has ended up managing to dominate way too much human activity. It is embarrassing that over two millennia after the birth of Western civilisation ,we have degenerated to a point where we still believe that simple indicators can determine whether someone will steal, lie, or be just wonderful.

Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (5, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about a year ago | (#44724383)

It is embarrassing that over two millennia after the birth of Western civilisation ,we have degenerated to a point where we still believe that simple indicators can determine whether someone will steal, lie, or be just wonderful.

Yep, the Middle Ages were pretty grim. Nowadays, roughly three millenia after the birth of Western civilization, we're slightly less retarded. But only slightly.

Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (4, Insightful)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year ago | (#44724173)

It is as if our government has thrown all logic by the wayside and has become a religion unto itself.

Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (0)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#44724295)

If only we could completely separate Church from State but I don't think even that would change their attitudes.

Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (4, Insightful)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#44724313)

They appear to have thrown the first amendment out with the trash as well.

Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44724187)

To me it seems he's being charged with heresy. The fist such charge in over 200 years.

Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (2)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#44724339)

If only the Fed. were only as scary as Cardinal Biggles [flixster.com] ; "[he] shall be charged on three counts; heresy by thought, heresy by word, heresy by deed and, Uh, FOUR Counts.."

Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (2)

houghi (78078) | about a year ago | (#44724823)

If they water-board him, I am sure he will bring others to light who will be found guilty after the water-boarding or other torture.
I mean, if you go medieval on him, go all the way.

Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724361)

having 'flunked' a lie detector test many years ago for a stupid shit job at radio shack, where i was 100% truthful, i know from my personal experience they are shit...
on top of that, a couple of guys who I KNOW were lying, scamming, stealing, doping, snorting, salesdroid types, PASSED their lie detector tests from the same operator, in the same timeframe, for the same shit radio shack job...
they went on to become managers...

Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (4, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | about a year ago | (#44724409)

having 'flunked' a lie detector test many years ago for a stupid shit job at radio shack, where i was 100% truthful, i know from my personal experience they are shit...
on top of that, a couple of guys who I KNOW were lying, scamming, stealing, doping, snorting, salesdroid types, PASSED their lie detector tests from the same operator, in the same timeframe, for the same shit radio shack job...
they went on to become managers...

Given what I know about modern American corporate management, I think it was working just fine.

Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (5, Insightful)

Imrik (148191) | about a year ago | (#44724609)

Maybe you didn't flunk the lie detector, they just wanted to hire people that could lie convincingly.

Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44724443)

If prosecutors found they could more easily get convictions through failing people on phrenology tests, then yeah, that could happen.

Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (1, Flamebait)

dov_0 (1438253) | about a year ago | (#44724493)

They still use polygraphs in the USA?!? Polygraph results are inadmissable as evidence in Australia most of Europe.

Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (1)

Elbereth (58257) | about a year ago | (#44724599)

To some extent. [wikipedia.org] Its use is controversial and losing support, but there are still some old school hold-outs who swear by it. I think what we're seeing is a few of these hold-outs lashing out in a last, desperate attempt to save their image, but, with some luck, this will end up being the final nail in their coffin.

Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (3, Interesting)

Imrik (148191) | about a year ago | (#44724647)

They're generally inadmissable as evidence or at least require both sides agree to them as evidence here as well, however they still see use for job screenings and parole.

Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (2)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about a year ago | (#44724545)

I'm so sorry you seem to be getting modded "funny" for this. It should be "insightful".

Why does slashdot think that "funny" isn't worth karma?

(And when can we turn in our karma for shiny prizes?)

Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (2)

Jessified (1150003) | about a year ago | (#44724559)

I'd say it's more like teaching people how to resist torture, seen as that is a sanctioned US security technique.

Further, the idea that drug lords can infiltrate federal agencies in the absence of polygraph tests is really scary. That is essentially their point. That means all their investigative powers are useless, and it all boils down to a pseudoscience test.

Repost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724045)

I am certain this was up a few weeks ago.

Re:Repost? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44724135)

Nope. This is a follow-up to the previous one (now they want to imprison him).

Re:Repost? (1)

George Maschke (699175) | about a year ago | (#44724147)

No, it's not a re-post. Last week, Slashdot featured an earlier story by McClatchy about the same criminal investigation. On Friday, 30 August, McClatchy published a follow-up article with details on the case of Chad Dixon, the only person to have thus far been criminally charged in an investigation that the government is calling "Operation Lie Busters."

The 1st Amendment's purpose (4, Insightful)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44724063)

The purpose of the First Amendment is to give people the freedom to say as many things as they want as long as nobody listens.

Re:The 1st Amendment's purpose (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44724113)

Yes, a man without any followers is easy to ignore, a pragmatic way of running a system. The listeners always let themselves off the hook, as if resisting temptation is not part of the deal.

Re:The 1st Amendment's purpose (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724141)

The purpose of the First Amendment is to give people the freedom to say as many things as they want as long as nobody listens.

Ah, quite wrong. The purpose of the First Amendment was to protect you because of the things you want to freely have the Right to say, and in front of other people.

Who gives a flying fuck if you want to rant about how awesome Hitler was where "nobody listens". That hardly takes a Constitutional Amendment to provide or protect.

Re:The 1st Amendment's purpose (0)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44724213)

Is "ostensible" a word in American English?

Re:The 1st Amendment's purpose (4, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#44724271)

Supposedly, some purported dictionaries notionally claim that it apparently is.

Re:The 1st Amendment's purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724317)

or so they say

Re:The 1st Amendment's purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724243)

The OP was using something called "sarcasm". Yeah, sometimes it is hard to tell when so many people sincerely say stupid things.

Well, of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724107)

In their eyes, the efficacy of lie detectors is an article of faith. So he's been wilfully transgressing against the FBI's religion. and so He's a heretic! And therefore the FBI is justified and righ! HE MUST GO DOWN!

Re:Well, of course. (5, Insightful)

George Maschke (699175) | about a year ago | (#44724457)

One sure fire way to fail a federal polygraph is to admit up front that you've researched polygraphy, you know that it has no scientific basis, and that it's vulnerable to simple countermeasures that you have read about and understood (but promise not to use them). When the "test" is done, you'll be accused of deception, attempted countermeasures, or both.

gee i wonder. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724111)

i wonder if they will polygraph him?

Re:gee i wonder. (3, Interesting)

RJFerret (1279530) | about a year ago | (#44724693)

He already plead guilty. Ironically the summary lies, he fell for entrapment, providing a lie for an undercover investigator to purportedly get a federal job dishonestly. Wire fraud is in there too. Sorry, I read the article.

There's nothing first amendment related, you can tell people to befriend the examiner, control their breathing, put antiperspirant on their fingers, and be anxious for early control questions so you seem less anxious for later questions.

If he'd simply responded, "I can't provide answers you should give" instead of, "tell them X", he'd have been fine.

I do feel for the poor guy, he's literally poor, had a failing business and was trying to generate side income to support his family/kids by charging people for what is in the wikipedia article on polygraphs, and obvious to anyone who had parents they lied to.

Actually, it sounds more like they should have hired the guy to help them out.

What good is tor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724117)

What good is tor with PRISM and upstream? Really, its like they can connect the dots almost instantly about who is visiting what when you can essentially sniff ALL of the backbone traffic of the internet.

Re:What good is tor (1)

mstefanro (1965558) | about a year ago | (#44724205)

Is there any reason to believe that Tor is weakened by PRISM?

Re:What good is tor (4, Insightful)

Hizonner (38491) | about a year ago | (#44724379)

I don't remember which program PRISM is, specifically, but Tor is very weak against an attacker that can watch all network traffic over time. Or even very much of the traffic. This is what the specialists call a "global passive attack", and it's very hard to beat.

Think of the whole Tor network as a single entity, ignoring what goes on inside. Imagine you can watch its inputs and outputs. If every time Jane Smith connects to Tor, an outgoing connection is made to Joe Jones, then it becomes pretty obvious who Jane talks to. The network could make it a little harder by mixing up the order of Jane's traffic with other people's traffic, but to get any real gain out of that the relays to wait so long and mix so much traffic that the network is unusable for Jane. Even then, the gain is basically only linear in the amount of delay the network adds.

It only gets worse if you can watch the traffic between individual Tor relays (which you can in reality). And it gets even worse if you can mess with the traffic in any way. Just by using the network yourself, for example, you can load up the path you think Jane is using and look at the results, or you can even play games to cause Jane to use a path you can observe.

You don't need to be completely global to do any of this stuff, especially because Jane chooses new paths from time to time. If she uses the network very much, she's eventually going to choose a path you can observe. And generally you only have to see the input and output points to do timing correlation; the middle isn't so important.

The only countermeasure to a lot of this is to send dummy traffic all the time. But for real resistance over the long term, the traffic has to never vary, which means that the amount of dummy data you need to send goes as the square of the number of possible real sources/destinations (times the maximum bandwidth of any connection). If you send less dummy data than that, you'll end up having to adjust what you send in response to the real traffic. If the enemy can watch you for long enough, they can use statistics to figure out which traffic is real. You might get away with doing something once, but not with doing it very many times.

AND if the attacker actually puts up her own Tor node, she can mostly detect dummy data.

Re:What good is tor (4, Informative)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#44724739)

I wish more people understood how deep this rabbit hole goes. They can see the entire net. If you use public infrastructure, they can see it.

Re:What good is tor (3, Informative)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about a year ago | (#44724217)

Good question - what good is Tor?

Well, one interesting thing we learned lately is that some element of what can only be US law enforcement felt the need to exploit a Firefox bug in order to deanonymize some Tor users. Given that we know (thanks to Reuters) that the NSA works with other LE agencies, it therefore stands to reason that they are at this time NOT capable of entirely deanonymizing Tor via network traffic analysis, either because they don't have a global view of traffic, or their tools aren't capable of it, or the problem is a lot harder than it sounds (it's all encrypted so you have to rely on correlation attacks).

So for now at least it's the best that is available.

Re:What good is tor (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | about a year ago | (#44724397)

To break Tor they need to monitor all traffic in and out. Basic traffic analysis will then tell you who is sending to who. As the output of Tor is unencrypted it is therefore easy to know what you are sending to who. But doing this requires intercepting ALL traffic in and out, not just some of it that happens to pass through a given compromised node. There are a lot of nodes.

Re:What good is tor (3, Insightful)

Hizonner (38491) | about a year ago | (#44724429)

... or because they don't think those targets have enough value to make it worth bringing what they can do with traffic analysis out in open court. They give some things to LE. That doesn't mean they give LE everything they have.

But it's true that Tor is the best available for a lot of applications. And I do personally doubt that the NSA can reliably deanonymize Tor for low volumes of non-repeating traffic. I wouldn't bet on it, though. And I wouldn't bet on it lasting if it's true today.

Re: What good is tor (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about a year ago | (#44724765)

What Reuters revealed is that their involvement doesn't come out in open court, because the police make up some alternative explanation of how they got the evidence. So they wouldn't have to reveal anything.

Also, the hack was somewhat sophisticated. If not the NSA then who?

Re:What good is tor (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about a year ago | (#44724633)

Well, one interesting thing we learned lately is that some element of what can only be US law enforcement felt the need to exploit a Firefox bug in order to deanonymize some Tor users.

Given that Tor was created by the ONI and is largely funded by the DOD this is all pretty strange.

Re:What good is tor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724817)

That;s a pretty funny thing for a eunuch to say

One thing to remember about that... (0)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | about a year ago | (#44724867)

...US law enforcement felt the need to exploit a Firefox bug in order to deanonymize some Tor users.

One thing to keep in mind about the takeover of Freedom Hosting and injection of malicious code by LE was that they continued to operate Freedom Hosting for a while. That means that LE freely hosted about, by the best estimates, half of all the child porn .onion sites in the world for a day or two.

It scares me when LE is willing to disseminate child pornography or, as in this case, trample all over the whole notion of free speech in the pursuit of their questionable goals.

I say "questionable" because, well, how can their goals be legitimate if they're willing to do such evil things to achieve them?

employers use polygraph tests? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724123)

what's the point? i keep reading that polygraph tests for criminal cases aren't accurate. i thought US companies did background checks like asking neighbors and previous employers for interviews. plus can't employers look at criminal records and public court documents? just asking. oh yeah, i think some US employers do drug testing too.

Re:employers use polygraph tests? (3, Insightful)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year ago | (#44724231)

What is the point?

Number 1 is fear. Stopping people form putting anti-polygraph information out on the street because of the risk of being detained or harassed by the government.

Number 2 is also fear. Polygraphs aren't a lie detector, they are a psychological operation against the person taking the test, if you know the test is bullshit it's magic fails to work as good.

Study the history on the FBI with polygraphs, they worship them.

Re: employers use polygraph tests? (4, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#44724537)

"Number 2 is also fear. Polygraphs aren't a lie detector, they are a psychological operation against the person taking the test, if you know the test is bullshit it's magic fails to work as good."

It' the Homeopathy of the Homeland Security.

Legal slippery slope (5, Insightful)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about a year ago | (#44724137)

If it is illegal to teach people to avoid a polygraph, what about teaching other skills that can evade police detection. Is teaching encryption illegal? Is discussing mobile phone tracking illegal? Costuming and disguise?

I think that it only makes sense to criminalize aiding a SPECIFIC crime, not providing tools that could be used to commit a crime

Re:Legal slippery slope (3)

electrosoccertux (874415) | about a year ago | (#44724211)

of course. everything you do is illegal. But you can trust us. We will not use it against you.

Re:Legal slippery slope (5, Informative)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year ago | (#44724249)

Reading the article, I 'think' he was aiding specific people that had committed crimes (gave methodology how to get around what they did), and that is how he was charged. The issue is fed.gov is using this as a platform to give the appearance he was charged just for teaching anti-poly alone to cast a net of FUD around other who do so.

Re:Legal slippery slope (2)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about a year ago | (#44724355)

Did he have reason to believe that the people he was helping were criminals? Even then its a bit tricky - how clear does the evidence need to be for a person to be guilty of aiding a criminal? Should I refuse to provide services to someone dressed like a gangster because I think that they may have committed a crime?

Re:Legal slippery slope (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44724351)

They are trying to criminalize teaching things, they are saying he knew his clients intended to use the knowledge to defraud the government. In other words exactly what you are arguing for: helping someone to comit a specific crime.

Re: Legal slippery slope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724471)

This just in, knowledge is dangerous!

This shit actually scares me! Why? Because the moment LEO's, especially Federal, start prosecuting people for learning, it becomes a very slippery slope given the current state of how information is being gathered, restricted, and leaked.

You might say I'm blurring the line between 'hard knowledge', say how to make thermite, and say what Snowden has leaked, but it's all information and still in the public interest to be known.

Like I said, it's a slippery slope. You could argue that any sysadmin who suddenly switches to computer and network security in hopes of working for the Fed could be subject to the same prosecution. Especially if that person suddenly started disseminating that same information en masse.

What's really absurd is that polygraph is still being used as a method of prosecution. Like another poster said, this amounts to being prosecuted for heresy. I thought modern Law Enforcement was more advanced with that. Guess I've watched too many movies.

Re:Legal slippery slope (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about a year ago | (#44724511)

If it is illegal to teach people to avoid a polygraph, what about teaching other skills that can evade police detection. Is teaching encryption illegal? Is discussing mobile phone tracking illegal? Costuming and disguise?

I think that it only makes sense to criminalize aiding a SPECIFIC crime, not providing tools that could be used to commit a crime

According to TFA he didn't get arrested for teaching people how to beat a polygraph, he got done for telling people to conceal the fact that they had received such training when applying for government jobs:

According to prosecutors, Dixon taught seven federal law enforcement applicants and two government contractors, including one who had a security clearance with an unnamed intelligence agency.

Personally I think that polygraph testing is junk-sicence and that if even state-of-the-art polygraphs can be beaten they are essentially paperweights and should not be used by the government at all. That is the best way of putting people like Dixon out of business. No amount of legislating and hauling people into court is going to change the fact that polygraphs are junk, the US govt. might as well try to ban rain on weekends. On top of that we haven't even begun to discuss the fact that polygraphs are less than 100% accurate.

Re:Legal slippery slope (1)

thewebdude (1276170) | about a year ago | (#44724611)

not yet...

Re:Legal slippery slope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724653)

I think that it only makes sense to criminalize aiding a SPECIFIC crime, not providing tools that could be used to commit a crime

Providing tools that can be used for a crime can and is criminalized. Try to sell a gun to a drug dealer (or a link to a copyrighted work, I hear). On the other hand lying is not crime. I have an inalienable right to lie. There are entire professions predicated on convincing lying. Surely a judge understands this, he's being lied to every day by men paid to do this.

So teaching people how to lie is not a crime, organizing a conspiracy to penetrate the federal agencies by fraud might be, depending on the circumstances. The onus is entirely on the prosecution to prove that Chad Dixon knew what his accomplices were up to, and his training was instrumental for their actions.

It's more like a cliff! (2)

pablo_max (626328) | about a year ago | (#44724667)

Seriously, the writing has been on the wall for a long time. I have told everyone who will listen over the years that America is systematically removing our rights..
The fact is, most people just do not care. They have an iPhone and the rest is icing on the iCake.
You hear it all the time from the young crowd. I don't care, I have nothing to hide.
Not to mentions the "they hate our freedom" morons who say, if you don't like, leave.
Well, I did leave. 6 years ago to a country that is, ironically much more free than America. Germany. Sure, it is hard to have a gun. But, on the other hand, the murder rate is really low and it doesn't have more than 6% of the population in jail.
Of course, I still have hope for America. It just gets lower as time passes. Hey, when the revolution starts, I will be on the first boat over. (Dear NSA, I don't mean that at all, I am on your side, you are best!)

Re:Legal slippery slope (1)

Livius (318358) | about a year ago | (#44724741)

I would assume it's equally illegal to teach people to follow the law (thereby unfairly depriving the prison-industrial complex of revenue).

Scary AND stupid... (3, Insightful)

Stephan Schulz (948) | about a year ago | (#44724143)

This is really surprising and depressing to me. I don't even see the crime. Since when is it generally illegal to lie, or to lie well? What's next - imprison people who teach martial arts? Or shooting? Or driving (think getaway cars)? Or better, people who teach writing (which can be used for teaching nearly anything)! Down with knowledge! Bring back trial by fire!

Re:Scary AND stupid... (3, Interesting)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year ago | (#44724287)

I appears he gave a few specific people methods on how to avoid the feds on specific (federal) crimes they had committed, that in itself could be (and was) considered aiding.

The prosecution is using it as a religious platform for their pseudoscience saying that any negative speak of their golden cow (polygraph tests) is an affront to god and country.

Essentially the government is trying to frame the issue that anyone that does anti-poly is a child molesting terrorist so they can control the discussion and then control debate on they laws surrounding it.

Re:Scary AND stupid... (1)

Camshaft_90 (908670) | about a year ago | (#44724621)

This is really surprising and depressing to me. I don't even see the crime. Since when is it generally illegal to lie, or to lie well? What's next - imprison people who teach martial arts? Or shooting? Or driving (think getaway cars)? Or better, people who teach writing (which can be used for teaching nearly anything)! Down with knowledge! Bring back trial by fire!

Embarrassing the jerks in Washington for their lies is the crime..Oh wait....

But we've always known ... (2)

Tim Ward (514198) | about a year ago | (#44724153)

... that there's no such thing as a working lie detector.

Surely you're not trying to tell us that there's some government somewhere that believes otherwise and actually uses the things??

Re:But we've always known ... (2)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44724413)

It doesn't have to work to be useful. But it's only useful so long as people believe it works.

Re:But we've always known ... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44724711)

It doesn't have to work to be useful. But it's only useful so long as people believe it works.

Yep, just look at the NSA. Their internal auditing caught few, if any, of their employees doing LOVEINT [washingtonpost.com] it was only because the suckers believed in the lie detector's abilities that they confessed.

Lies! (3, Funny)

Mashdar (876825) | about a year ago | (#44724157)

All lies!

Re:Lies! (2)

geogob (569250) | about a year ago | (#44724761)

I didn't detect any

Witchcraft (3, Insightful)

JThaddeus (531998) | about a year ago | (#44724159)

"Polygraph tests are 20th-century witchcraft." --Senator Sam Ervin

Re:Witchcraft (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724483)

Next time they will charge a swimming instructor for teaching women how to beat the "witch" test.

conspiracy? (5, Insightful)

nten (709128) | about a year ago | (#44724161)

Is this the same guy that was on /. a few weeks ago because he taught undercover agents who *told* him they were planning to commit a crime with the information he gave them? A /. lawyer indicated that helping someone who told you they were going to commit a crime, is a crime. That makes sense to me. If I'm driving my taxi and some pleasant old lady gets in and asks to be driven to the bank so she can rob it, I'm going to get out of the car and call the police, not drive her to the bank. Does that count as a car analogy?

Re:conspiracy? (2)

kruach aum (1934852) | about a year ago | (#44724325)

Why would you believe anything someone says who you have JUST taught how to lie without the possibility of being detected?

Re:conspiracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724329)

Hmm... I may not drive her to the bank but I'm sure as hell not going to call the police. Why would I endanger myself for no reason?

Releted Story (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | about a year ago | (#44724163)

Coming soon in a related story a man has been charged for telling people not to look up at security cameras.

Yeah...and we are a democracy, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724165)

Good that Obama is out to kill some Syrian people. Can you imagine what would happen to Democracy and Right and Good if he did not do that???

NRC says it is not effective. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724181)

Back in grad school, we were told that only the psychotic could pass a polygraph test. Perhaps failing should be considered passing...

Re:NRC says it is not effective. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724221)

psychotic? I think you mean sociopath / psychopath (they keep changing the term).

Polygraghs will be irrelevant soon enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724235)

Soon enough it will be irrelevant soon enough when they switch to using fMRIs.

Selectively administered (4, Interesting)

JThaddeus (531998) | about a year ago | (#44724239)

Polygraphs are one reason I left classified work for greener pastures. I believe they are nearly worthless, used just as much to harass as anything else.

In my last classified job, my employer hired a new security officer. After several months on the job she was sent for her polygraph. She returned the same day, the test unadministered because she had a heart problem. The problem was manageable, but it made it impossible for an "accurate" test. Despite this she remained in her job. With access to far more material than myself and others--sensitive material covering many programs--she was excused. Obviously the intelligence community doesn't believe in polygraphs either. I'm glad to be out of that world.

he broke THE law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724241)

the only real law that has existed since civilization started, the law that our whole "legal" and "justice" system is a facade to disguise

"Don't do anything those with more power than you disapprove of"

You break that law and you are punished. In more primitive times the result was a bludgeoning or stabbing. In our more refined age it is destruction of livelihood and reputation and relegation to being impoverished, depended, and insignificant for the rest of your life.

And this is why the people with power hate anonymity so much. Because it allows the powerless to act without fear.

FYI He broke law #5 (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | about a year ago | (#44724263)

1 Survive
2 Procreate
3 Invaders must die
4 Profit
5 Don't do anything those with more power than you disapprove of

Re:FYI He broke law #5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724311)

3 Invaders must die

From what I see in the news, the locals are working hard to obey Law 3 ( above )
in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most likely, due to Obama's ego ( he believes his credibility is at risk
and that this justifies military action ) run amok, Syria will be added to this list.

Intimidation (3, Insightful)

GodGell (897123) | about a year ago | (#44724251)

As has been discussed earlier, a polygraph test is a tool in the same toolkit as the War o(n|f) Terror and the TSA security theatre. Its effectiveness comes from nothing but the intimidation factor - if the belief that your lies will be "scientifically" detected persists, you can get the victim to blurt out all his secrets by simply telling them that you "know" they're lying. They will feel like they've lost even the privacy of their own thoughts, and with that predicament it can seem pretty futile to resist giving in.

That psychological end state is pretty much what torturing during interrogations used to accomplish, until they realized that people will say anything they think their captors want to hear. With this technique that issue is solved, since the victim believes their captors will know whether he's telling the truth.

Obviously, this means that the actual effectiveness of lie detectors must be made, and kept, a widely-believed "fact", and people who express doubts (or provide proof) must be discredited. After all, they were trying to cheat the Establishment, so they must be evil, immoral, scheming criminals who just lie for personal gain.

ways to irritate poly graphers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724293)

I heard of one guy putting a tack in his shoe before the polygraph and during the interview he'd press a toe into the tack totally messing up any readings.

Re:ways to irritate poly graphers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724557)

That's from about thirty years ago, IIRC.

Using a tack is stupid. It puts a hole in your foot. Any puncture is an injury, the kind of thing that one can do without, no matter how macho you may think it makes you. Any puncture carries risk of infection, which if not properly controlled by your body or anti-biotics can mess you up and even lead to losing parts or death. Depending on where the tack enters the foot you could damage tendons, nerves, and the odd blood vessel. A toe has less going on but if nothing else infection is still an unnecessary risk. Use a pebble (or bb, peppercorn, whole clove, what ever is handy) and tape it somewhere; you will feel it and you can make it painful enough to skew readings.

Finally, doesn't matter how good you are at handling pain, your body will betray with altered gait even if you can prevent obvious limp. So, simple, right? - you walk in and out with a limp. "Why are you limping?" - I stubbed my toe. "Oh, ok, we'll escort you to see the nurse on the way out." Now what, smart person?

mod dowN (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724297)

War on Information (4, Insightful)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year ago | (#44724319)

That's what this really is.

Before the Internet, information was whatever was decided the they'd would give to the public to appease us. It was all carefully planned, controlled and manipulated to advance their agenda. Now, we're able to seek out and share information for ourselves at speeds never before possible.

The will of the people is quite demonstrably dissemination. It's not that they ever gave two shits about the will of the public, but they're no longer able to manipulate the flow of information to make it look like they do.

Junk science (3, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#44724337)

The scientific community needs to rally to his cause. Polygraphs are junk science and haven't been admissible to a court of law in many years. Teaching someone how to beat a Polygraph is no more morally wrong than teaching someone how to beat any other form of junk science. Science should be revered for what it is, and attempts to pass junk off should be demonized. What's next, jailing someone for teaching you how to fool an Astrologist?

I have no problem with the government conducting proper background checks (ala Snowden etc), but relying on junk science like the polygraph hasn't helped them on actual real spies like Ames etc..

Re:Junk science (1)

Livius (318358) | about a year ago | (#44724747)

Probably someone will think this means disproving creationism should also be illegal...

Loss of freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724365)

Obama and Holder have made a mess of the US Constitution. This DOJ is more corrupt than the Chicago Mob ... oh, the Chicago Mob leader heads the US.

A poly is a negotiating tactic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724431)

Nobody believes that polygraphs actually work reliably. They are used because people aren't positive they don't work. So if you're doing something shady, and you have to get a poly,and you hear that they work only 30% of the time, that's still a higher percentage of potentially getting caught than if they don't poly.

Basically it's a way to remove some fraction of the bad actors from the pool (the ones who are afraid). You, of course, also lose some fraction of the good actors (due to false positives), but in the security business, you'd rather have false positives than false negatives, because the consequence of a loss is high, while the consequences of not having a particular person working is low.

For the vast majority of work involving poly exams, there are lots and lots of people available who are competent and skilled at the work. Losing 10% of them, or even 20-30% of them, to false positives on the test is not a problem.

And the pathological bad actor who can pass the poly will still get through. But hey, this is /., we all know about security in depth, right? You don't depend on just the poly as your sole evaluation method. The fact that your $50k/yr employee is spending $10k a week at the local strip club would raise suspicions, for instance. The fact that his grandfather was named Lenin T. Marx is another clue.

In summary, nobody cares that the poly is inaccurate. It's a tool, just like the car salesman leaving you in the office while he leaves to "take this to my manager"

Re:A poly is a negotiating tactic (1)

JoeInnes (1025257) | about a year ago | (#44724679)

There's a very good argument that polygraph tests are there for no reason other than to unduly stress suspects into giving a confession. Think along the lines of "oh, well, you can admit it now, and we'll go easy on you, or you can take the polygraph test and then we've got no incentive to be generous". Despite the fact "we'll go easy on you" means literally nothing, and has been documented as meaning nothing over and over again.

I can't remember the name of it, but there's a statistical analysis that shows that the number of terrorists found during TSA searches is statistically insignificant compared to the number of false positives. I'd be willing to bet the same principle applies here.

Spooked Author (2)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44724433)

We make this information available not to help liars beat the system, but to provide truthful people with a means of protecting themselves against the high risk of a false positive outcome.

Translation: please don't arrest us for exercising our First Amendment rights.

A decent judge (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#44724481)

Would find the defendant not guilty (despite the guilty plea), and jail the prosecutor for contempt.

How about this instead.... (1)

3seas (184403) | about a year ago | (#44724539)

How about we charge the federal prosecutors with intent to deceive.

Conspiracy Laws (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about a year ago | (#44724663)

I believe they have conspiracy laws on the books in regards to aiding applicants to certain federal jobs CHEAT the process; which includes helping people cheat the FBI entrance exam or gaming the polygraph or other aspects of the process. Probably fits under the rather broad laws on fraud as well (which still haven't been applied to the credit agencies that caused the depression.)

Let Me See If I Understand This (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about a year ago | (#44724565)

The Good Guys/Gals don't have any better way of finding out who the bad guys/gals are?

Ya, right.

If you teach a person to write... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724569)

Are teachers culpable for teaching people to write, if some of those people become bank-robbers who silently pass written notes to bank tellers giving them instructions on how to co-operate with the heist? If an illiterate bank robber came to you and said "please write me out a note detailing how the bank employee must act when I go rob the bank in a few days", then clearly you can be charged as an accessory to the crime when it finally happens.

For the person providing the service or teaching the skill to be criminally culpable, that person has to KNOW the sole purpose of the teaching was to enable a future criminal enterprise. Educating a criminal/would-be criminal is NEVER a crime in and of itself. Even a teacher who educated his services by saying "an educated criminal is likely to be a more successful criminal" commits no crime, so long as the educational service provided is general, and does not relate to some intended criminal act!

But America no longer operates to the principle of Law. America operates to the principle of power alone, and sometimes this means presenting a completely non-legal case to a jury, and asking them to become a 'lynch' mob. Black men accused of rape in a "he said, she said" situation face this ALL the time. The concept of "beyond a reasonable doubt" becomes a complete joke in many American trials.

Lie detectors are an utter joke. The ONLY class of people you would want to identify with such devices are the EXACT same class who always know the trivial methods used to defeat such pseudo-scientific nonsense. Controlling your emotions, and using 'false memories' to create the correct physical responses are easily learnt skills, but also occur naturally to the most dangerous types of Humans.

So why such a prosecution. Well, it follows the general principle of a police state, where those not under the control of the state are seen and treated as enemies of the state. Then, it also serves the idea that lie detectors are legitimate, and should enjoy a wider roll-out. Then, it also serves to groom the sheeple to expect all kinds of obscene tests by the state to ensure they are good little sheeple.

Scanners at airports (far worse than those cancer causing foot-X-ray machines wage slaves were 'persuaded' to use in US shoe shops). The fake bomb detectors Tony Blair and the UK government shipped out to so-many of their ex-colonies, to allow the despotic regimes there to have an excuse to label ANY target as a 'terrorist' fall into the same category.

When the state wants to strap you to a device, wave a device around your body, or dip a device into your drink to CONFIRM you are one of the good sheeple, you had better get very, very, very scared about your immediate future, and the future of your nation. All too often in our history, whole populations have lived in mortal terror of their masters. Today, the technology available to the monsters that rule you is unthinkable in power and potential compared to any past time. As these monsters accumulate and centralise power, they judge their success as positive feedback, and seek to radically increase the rate of the same in the future.

Team Obama is the puppet face of the greatest evil Mankind has ever faced (did they feel one twinge of conscience when they gassed unthinkable numbers of Iranians when Reagan was the puppet, or when they gassed Syrians far more recently). You sheeple, not matter how much you learn, still pathetically try to convince yourselves that your side are the 'good guys'. America's rulers are the blackest evil imaginable. Yet NSA partner Bill Gates can work with Rupert "Goebbels" Murdoch to create a pedophiles dream, the inBloom database on which EVERY aspect of your children's lives are to be recorded and made available to every flavour of monster, AND YOU DO *NOTHING*.

Don't forget Penn and Teller (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724643)

Penn and Teller did this on TV... So, we also need to lock them up as well as their entire TV show staff and everyone who distributed the show (including truck drivers of the DVD). Then we need to confiscate all copies of the show and destroy them.

Hmmm (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#44724665)

They must be insane. Am I being punked? I am, aren't I?

The test has been establish as something of an illusion for some time....nothing more than a sleight of hand, a parlor trick, which fails as often as it succeeds.

It's Not The Polygraph You Need To Worry About (3, Informative)

IonOtter (629215) | about a year ago | (#44724705)

It's the one-way mirror in the room where the test is being administered.

I've been through a polygraph for something *very* serious. Some of our crypto just went "*poof*", and everyone was quite concerned. Understandably, so, too! Crypto is *not* supposed to just go "*poof*".

We were all asked if we wanted to take a polygraph, and I gladly volunteered, since it really did just vanish. (We later determined that the tape in question had been included in the daily destruction by mistake.) But even volunteering for it, a polygraph is a scary thing if you know nothing about it.

So I did my research. And yes, those websites were all visited and read, in detail. During the test, I tried some of the techniques that were taught, and sure enough, they work! You can make that machine sing "Bad Romance" as good as Lady Gaga. I thought it was kinda fun, actually?

But see, the machine was just to butter you up. If you were up to no good, the machine would make you nervous, even if you DO know how to manipulate it. And in the end, it doesn't matter.

There's a one-way mirror, and behind that mirror is a team of 3-4 people who are all very good at reading human beings. And they have thermographic cameras that measure your facial temperature to help them in reading those who are good at controlling their body language.

At the end of the day, a polygraph is just a tool that makes someone's job that much easier. It's just one tool in a chest of many, because no single tool alone is enough to get to the truth of the matter.

My own investigation was with NIS, who are very good at what they do, and very professional. They were after the truth, not a conviction. So I have no complaints about how *I* was treated. But if someone is looking for a victim, then having this information just might save your life.

What is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44724753)

I thought polygraphs usually aren't admissible as evidence in court anyways. (In most countries. YMMV.) So what harm is done there?

Secondly, there's much better technology that has made polygraphs obsolete. FMRI can detect the portion of the brain that lights up when somebody is lying. Only thing going against it currently is that such devices aren't readily portable.

So why bother doing something so stupid as trying to imprison somebody for "hacking" a technology which can't be used to administer law and also has a much more effective and reliable replacement? Seriously, anyone got a good explanation?

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