Lie Detector Libel

I noticed a posting on Slashdot (link) this morning regarding a gag order on an article that was to be published in a peer reviewed scientific journal but has been suppressed. The article was critical of lie detector technology, and evidently provided information debunking it.

More information is available her:  Stockholm University article.

The thing I find most interesting about this is that the US Supreme Cort has already determined that Lie Detectors are unreliable. From Wikipedia article on the polygraph:

In the 1998 Supreme Court case, United States v. Scheffer, the majority stated that “There is simply no consensus that polygraph evidence is reliable” and “Unlike other expert witnesses who testify about factual matters outside the jurors’ knowledge, such as the analysis of fingerprints, ballistics, or DNA found at a crime scene, a polygraph expert can supply the jury only with another opinion…”.

One of the things I find most interesting about the challenge of “testing” lie detectors is that no testing, such as the tests performed my Emily Rosa to debunk Therapeutic Touch, have ever been offered with can objectivity demonstrate the that they even work.

Cheers, Erik

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2 thoughts on “Lie Detector Libel

  1. FoolsGold

    The article deals with Voice Stress Analyzers and was published by a firm financially unable to afford lawyers in a UK court where libel laws are generous. The authors in failing to first contact the manufacturers involved appear to have been lacking in journalism ethics though I am sure such a contact would have been futile anyway.

  2. Erik Post author

    Thanks for the comment.

    Yes, I should have been clearer about the fact that the article in question was focused on Voice Stress as the “lie detection” feature.

    None the less, as far as I am aware there has never been a double-blind study of any lie detection technology. The danger in pseudo-science isn’t that lie detection technology X works, but that it doesn’t work but is used as a basis for significant decisions.

    Cheers, Erik

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