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July 12, 2012

Study shows abuses in data collection

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- A U.S. government agency is pushing its polygraph operators to obtain intimate information of thousands of job applicants, a newspaper investigation said.

The National Reconnaissance Office, which oversees the nation's spy satellites, is so intent on extracting confessions of illegal or illicit behavior by employees and job seekers that it has admonished polygraph operators who refused to pursue lines of questioning and has rewarded those who did with cash bonuses, the McClatchy Newspapers reported Wednesday.

It added that, when issues such as child molestation are admitted, the agency does not always seek arrests or prosecutions.

"You've got to wonder what the point of all of this is if we're not even going after child molesters. This is bureaucracy run amok. These practices violate the rights of Americans and it's not even for a good reason," said Mark Phillips, a veteran polygrapher who resigned from the agency in May after what he claimed was retaliation for resisting abusing interviewing techniques.

McClatchy Newspapers' investigation uncovered examples of pushing legal and ethical boundaries by establishing a system tracking confessions that were used in polygraphers' annual performance reviews, summoning employees and job applicants to multiple polygraph tests and altering results of tests in an effort to additionally probe employees' and applicants' private lives, it said.

Comments :


My hat is off to your astute command over this toc-ribpavo!


One need not be a psychopath or go to spy scohol to fool the polygraph. All that is needed is an understanding of the trickery behind the procedure.While examinees are told that all questions must be answered truthfully, denials in response to certain questions -- called "control" questions – are assumed to be less than truthful. One common control question is, "Did you ever lie to get out of trouble?" The polygrapher steers the examinee into a denial by warning that anyone who would do so is the same kind of person who would commit the crime that is under investigation and then lie about it. But secretly, it is assumed that everyone has lied to get out of trouble.The polygrapher scores the test by comparing physiological responses to these probable-lie control questions with reactions to relevant questions such as, "Did you shoot John?" If the former reactions are greater, the examinee passes; if the latter are greater, he fails.The "test" also includes irrelevant questions such as, "Are the lights on in this room?" The polygrapher falsely explains that these questions provide a "baseline for truth," but in fact, they are not scored at all! They merely serve as buffers between pairs of relevant and control questions.Scientists agree that this simplistic methodology is without validity. The truthful are often falsely branded as liars while the deceptive pass through. Perversely, the more honestly one answers the control questions and exhibits less stress when answering them, the more likely one is to fail. Conversely, however, liars can beat the test by covertly augmenting physiological reactions to the control questions. This can be accomplished by doing mental arithmetic, thinking exciting thoughts, altering one's breathing pattern, or simply biting the side of the tongue.For more on polygraphy, visit , a non-profit, public interest website dedicated to exposing and ending waste, fraud, and abuse associated with the use of lie detectors. [url=]kvmguanh[/url] [link=]hccoktvdeqq[/link]


As a polygraph einaxmer, I think the argument if bigger than that to which you have limited it. How often polygraph has been useful after conviction, I don't know. It's difficult to quantify. How many advocates base their willingness to represent a client on polygraph results (and set the wheels in motion)? However, I can think of a number of cases that have resulted in defendants having their charges dropped, which means those incarcerated while awaiting trial were freed. Those cases will never be counted if you only look at those wrongfully convicted. (The goal is to avoid those from the start.)It is interesting that Morrison Bonpasse's data supports what the NAS reported in regard to polygraph accuracy. That is, there is no (statistical) difference between their estimates. While Lafayette can defend itself, it is wrong to call a filter a glitch. A filter removes something from the data by design. You essentially have two pieces of information in polygraph data: signal (helpful data) and noise (unhelpful data). The goal of a filter is to remove the noise. Thus, when data is filtered, we expect measurements to change on occasion. (And sure, there will be times when the filter removes part of the signal.) The reporter interviewed me, and I asked if there were any known cases in which this supposed glitch resulted in a truthful person being called a liar or a liar called truthful. There are no known cases. The only information she had was that the difference between the scores of filtered or unfiltered data was, at times, sufficient to change a decision to a non-decision. That is, a decision of truthful may have become inconclusive. The question is whether the filter helps einaxmers to better classify cases (correctly). The scientists at the University of Utah have found that their method of filtering data improves decision accuracy, so their glitch (in that measurements change when filtered) is beneficial. By the way, what is the accuracy of juries or judges? Assessing accuracy in those contexts suffers from the same problem as polygraph (seldom knowing ground truth). From my review of the literature, there is even less information on point than on polygraph, so the NAS criticisms would likely hold true there as well. There are only a couple of studies on accuracy, and they estimate judge and jury accuracy at about 87% the same as polygraph. Again, those studies share the same generalization issues as polygraph, which the NAS criticized. Polygraph is just one piece of evidence, and if used correctly, as Morrison suggests, it can and has proven to be useful. Like any other test, it only provides information. What one does with that information may vary dependent on its purpose.

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