Sweet Little Lies

So, the police are keen on the idea of using polygraphs, eh?

The devices are for the first time being used by detectives for pre-conviction testing in the UK in a trial which could pave the way for their introduction across the country.

Oh, my… I am aware that the US law enforcement agencies use these things, but I thought –  hoped –  that we were above using snake oil type remedies. I suppose that hope was naïve, given that our government has fallen hook line and sinker for just about every junk science scam laid at their door by any rent seeking shill that passes by, but lie detectors, for fuck’s sake?

Yes, sure, they can be used to measure stress. However, stress and lying are not necessarily correlated –  after all, being arrested and interrogated for something you didn’t do is likely to be highly stressful. And there is the little matter that people can train themselves to fool them anyway. Frankly, they might just as well be using an e-meter.

Until now, they have most prominently been used to settle domestic disputes on ITV’s daytime television programme The Jeremy Kyle Show.

Which, frankly, is the best place for them.

H/T Greg Tingey via email

Cross posted from Longrider

7 comments for “Sweet Little Lies

  1. Richard
    December 31, 2011 at 11:03 am

    “pre conviction testing”? :mrgreen:

  2. December 31, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Ugh. I THOUGHT I heard this on the television this mornings, and half-convinced myself I’d dreamed it.
    and only days after I watched Penn and Teller’s full debunking too…

  3. stab11
    December 31, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    If anyone gets the chance read “A Bright and Shining Lie” a biography of an American army officer which is also a history of Vietnam. The subject of the book is charged with statutory rape of his children’s babysitter. A whole chapter of the book is devoted to how he takes a lie detector test and passes with the aid of Valium and a little practice.

    • January 3, 2012 at 8:16 am

      So, he did the job then?

  4. December 31, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Might be wrong but I think I heard that despite the law’s love of the bloody things the Yanks don’t actually allow the results as admissible in court. That ought to speak volumes about their reliability.

    • Voice of Reason
      December 31, 2011 at 10:44 pm

      You are correct. This is one case where they got it right. The bloody things don’t work. Noticeably, the most famous espionage cases in the US in the past 50 years involve people who were polygraphed mutiple times.

  5. January 5, 2012 at 6:10 am

    Notice how they decided to start on the pedos which will get them the support of the Daily Mail, who do you suppose will be next, indoor smokers?

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