Lie Detector Company Threatens Researchers, Draws Much More Attention To Research

from the how-about-a-common-sense-detector dept

Slashdot points us to a story of a lie detector manufacturer, Nemesysco, who apparently was so upset with a report from some Swedish researchers in a technology journal, that they threatened legal action against the journal and the researchers, claiming that they would sue for defamation if the article wasn't taken down. Since the basic point of the journal article was that the lie detecting technology that Nemesysco was betting on simply could not work, you can understand why they might be upset about it. But calling it defamation is highly questionable.

If the information presented in the article was wrong why not just counter it and point out why it's wrong? Threatening defamation lawsuits and trying to shut up the researchers just makes it look like Nemesysco has something to hide. And, indeed, true to the Stresisand Effect, the article reports that the researchers have received a lot more attention for their research since the threats were issued: "It was hardly their intention. But since the article was withdrawn, I have received lots of mail and requests for copies of the article. The article would not have been read to this extent if the company had simply ignored it in silence." Who knows whether or not Nemesysco's lie detector works, but its common sense detector is apparently on the fritz.

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  1. icon
    Scott Gardner (profile), 30 Jan 2009 @ 12:36pm

    Whether or not Nemesysco ends up being successful in their legal actions, the researchers definitely could have gone about things better. They admit that the article was "aimed directly at the company's lie detector patent" and that it was "provocatively-written". Even the title of the research paper baldly accuses Nemesysco of being charlatans.

    Nemesysco shouldn't be able to sue for libel unless they can show that the researchers purposefully falsified data in order to discredit Nemesysco, but in the same vein, the researchers shouldn't be throwing around words like "charlatantry" unless they're ready to prove that Nemesysco is purposely promoting technology that they don't themselves believe to be effective.

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