Eight Months In Jail For Teaching People How To Pass A Lie Detector Test
from the for-tests-that-don't-even-work-well dept
As we noted last time, TV shows like Mythbusters and Penn & Teller: Bullshit! have both more or less taught people the same thing. While the government sought an even longer sentence, this is still worrisome on a variety of levels. Merely instructing people how to beat an extremely faulty technology should never be a crime. The judge and the DOJ's statements on the case are just bizarre:
O’Grady acknowledged “the gray areas” between the constitutional right to discuss the techniques and the crime of teaching someone to lie while undergoing a government polygraph. “There’s nothing unlawful about maybe 95 percent of the business he conducted,” the judge said.Deter others from what? From speaking out about how to trick incredibly unreliable technology that the government probably relies on too much already?
However, O’Grady added that “a sentence of incarceration is absolutely necessary to deter others.”
“This crime matters because what he did endangers others,” said Anthony Phillips, a prosecutor with the Justice Department’s division that pursues corrupt public officials.No it didn't. It doesn't endanger others to show them that a lie detector is faulty and not reliable. What endangers people is the federal government relying on such a dreadful technology that's so easy to "beat."
In many ways, this is similar to discovering a massive security flaw and then blaming the messenger for showing others how that security is flawed. The proper response is to not use the flawed security. But that's not how the government operates, unfortunately.