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Lie Detector Company Threatens Critical Scientists With Suit

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the slapp-ing-them-around dept.

Censorship 367

An anonymous reader writes "The Swedish newspaper DN reports that the Israeli company Nemesysco has sent letters to researchers at the University of Stockholm, threatening legal action if they do not stop publishing findings (Google translation). An article called 'Charlatanry in forensic speech science: A problem to be taken seriously' was pulled by the publisher after threats of a libel lawsuit." Online translations can be a little wonky; if your Swedish is as bad as mine, this English-language article describes the situation well.

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Obligatory (1, Funny)

srussia (884021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658703)

Bork, bork, bork...

there are two enemies of science and progress (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658709)

1. socially conservative politics

2. intellectual property laws

civilization is bettered in terms of happiness, health, and financial prosperity as long as the power of social conservatives and corporate oligarchy are held in check. certainly, there is now ay to ever completely defeat these forces, and they do actually do good some good in this world. but they must be eternally pruned, for in part sof the world where their power runs unchecked, corruption and classism, intolerance and tribalism take hold

Re:there are two enemies of science and progress (-1, Offtopic)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658865)

1. socially conservative politics

Don't forget that liberal politics make it fashionable to blame global warming for everything, and force change. Cleaner air would be nice; but politics from both sides make random arguments fashionable. Also actual evidence indicates embryonic stem cell treatments would have tons of complications and excessive cost and complexity, while host-harvested adult stem cell treatments would work much more readily and without any complications at all; but it's more fashionable to attack conservative politicians for their stance against "stem cell research" (and blatantly avoid letting on that there's a difference between the two, and that nobody's against adult stem cell research at all) and never, ever put out a proposal that more grant money go to "adult stem cell research" because it weakens your campaign position (wait, stem cell research? We just voted on allowing $3.5 billion federal monies for that, what do you mean Bush made it illegal?).

Politics is the enemy of everything. (Yay mass noun)

Re:there are two enemies of science and progress (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26659175)

Also actual evidence indicates embryonic stem cell treatments would have tons of complications and excessive cost and complexity, while host-harvested adult stem cell treatments would work much more readily and without any complications at all; ...

Do you actually believe that or are you just trolling? It's hard for me to believe that anyone would be that out of touch with reality.

Surely, you must realize that you are making such wild and exaggerated claims that they couldn't possibly be true. How could you possibly know that all possible treatments based on embryonic stem cell research will have "tons of complications" or that all possible treatments based on adult stem cell research will be "without any complications at all". Maybe your "actual evidence" consists of a crystal ball?

But you also imply that conservatives object to embryonic stem cell research purely based on practical scientific concerns. Again, WTF? Are you somehow not aware that conservatives are trying to push some kind of nonsensical view that "life begins at conception".

But maybe you don't actually have a complete disregard for factual reality - maybe you were just trolling. I hope so - because, if not, you're pretty scary.

Re:there are two enemies of science and progress (1, Offtopic)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659311)

IIRC, embryonic stem cells have a tendency to be cancerous (and adult stem cells less so)

Re:there are two enemies of science and progress (1, Insightful)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659271)

What does that have to do with anything in the article?

Your post ranted on about "socially conservative politics", when that had nothing to do with the article.

Some researchers published an article with an inflamatory title: "Charlatanry in forensic speech science: A problem to be taken seriously", and got sued for libel. This isn't about censorship or intellectual property laws, it's about a company protecting its image from mudslinging.

Re:there are two enemies of science and progress (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26659445)

Text is here: http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:4x3raI0CVjoJ:www.ling.gu.se/konferenser/iafpa2006/Abstracts/Eriksson_IAFPA%25202006.pdf+&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&gl=us [74.125.95.132]

Contains:

This is the html version of the file http://www.ling.gu.se/konferenser/iafpa2006/Abstracts/Eriksson_IAFPA%202006.pdf [ling.gu.se] .
Google automatically generates html versions of documents as we crawl the web.
Page 1
Proceedings, IAFPA 2006, Department of Linguistics, Göteborg University
Charlatanry and fraud - an increasing problem for forensic
phonetics?
Anders Eriksson
Department of Linguistics, Göteborg University, Sweden
anders.eriksson@ling.gu.se
In my talk I will describe one case of charlatanry and one case of fraud in forensic phonetics.
Charlatanry can take different forms. One type is when someone appears as an expert without
having the necessary qualifications or no qualifications at all. Another form is when some kind of
physical device is used or marketed which is based on principles for which there is no scientific
support. This is nothing new. The use of voiceprints is a classical case of this type. Charlatans often
exploit the fact that people are easily impressed by advanced technology. Today the methods are
often claimed to have been made possible only because of recent advances in computer technology.
The following two quotes may serve to illustrate my point: "enhanced by the rapid advancements in
personal computer technology", "the worlds most advanced application of this core frequency
based technology". This is how both products I will present here are described by those who market
them although in reality they are very unsophisticated products from a technological point of view.
By fraud I will refer to methods or devices based on principles which are so obviously false that
there can be no doubt that the people who produce them or use them must be aware of it. The
second example is of this kind.
A lie detector which can reveal lie and deception in some automatic and perfectly reliable way is an
old idea we have often met with in science fiction books and comic strips. This is all very well. It is
when machines claimed to be lie detectors appear in the context of criminal investigations that we
need to be concerned. Both examples presented here belong in this category. They are of particular
interest for forensic phonetics because they are both said to be based on analysis of the human
voice. The basic idea behind "lie detectors" based on voice analysis is that there are properties in
the voice signal that may be reliably correlated with lie or deception.
A gadget called Voice Stress Analyzer (VSA) or Psychological Stress Evaluator (PSE) has a history
that goes back to the seventies. In the sixties it was discovered that in larger muscles like the biceps
there is involuntary tremor, called micro tremor, with a frequency in the 8 to 12 Hz range. This
gave rise to speculations that the same phenomenon might be present in the larynx muscles and that
it may affect the voice source frequency. In particular it was suggested that the tremor might vary
as a function of stress in the speaker. Before anybody had a chance to investigate the possible
occurrence of micro tremor in the voice, the first "lie detector" based micro tremor in the voice
source appeared. (See. Rice, 1978). In the years to follow, many researchers tested voice stress
analyzers based on these ideas, but with largely negative results. Hollien surveyed the literature in
1987 and concluded that: "the ability of voice analyzers to detect stress from speech-or to identify
spoken deception-have been negative or "mixed" in nature". He also performed tests of his own,
using commercial voice analyzers which turned out to perform at chance level: "stress/nonstress
identifications occurred only at chance levels; the lie/nonlie identification scores were quite
similar". But the most decisive blow to the whole concept came much earlier. Already in 1981
Shipp and Izdebski published results from experimental study where they used hooked-wire
electrodes inserted into the larynx muscles in order to investigate the possible occurrence of micro
tremor, but no micro tremor patterns at all were found. So the whole idea is based on the variation
of something that does not even exist. Nevertheless products based on the idea of micro tremor are
still marketed and are used by private detectives and, perhaps more alarmingly, by some 1300
police departments in the US. Given the non-existent scientific basis underlying these gadgets one
feels justified to call the use of them charlatanry.
Page 2
Proceedings, IAFPA 2006, Department of Linguistics, Göteborg University
An Israeli based company markets the most wonderful tools including both lie detectors and love
detectors. The technique behind the lie detector is said to be something called Layered Voice
Analysis (LVA) and the assumption is that
every "event" that passes through the brain will leave its "finger prints" on the speech flow.
LVA Technology ignores what your subject is saying, and focuses only on his brain activity.
In other words, the "how" it is said is crucial and not the "what".
They are careful not to explicitly call the gadget "lie" detector, but there is absolutely no question
that that is what they want us to believe it is:
LVA is capable of detecting the intention behind the lie, and by so doing can lead you in
identifying and revealing the lie itself".
As any one with even the slightest knowledge of voice analysis will know, there is not a shred of
evidence for a relationship between voice and brain activity of the proposed kind. And a thorough
scrutiny of the description of the method in the American patent documents confirms the suspicion
that the method is pure nonsense, perhaps best described as statistics based on digitization artefacts.
You would think that a company that markets brain finger-printers and love detectors would give
rise to suspicion or at least caution in prospective customers, but that does not in general seem to
have been the case. The company is a million dollar business with among others some UK and US
insurance companies as customers. There are also reports that its products are used by police
departments in the US and perhaps elsewhere.
We may learn something from earlier experience, namely that there is a certain danger in
completely ignoring charlatans. Laymen may wrongly interpret the silence as acceptance no matter
how outrageous, even ridiculous, the claims may seem to an expert in the field. On the other hand it
can be quite time consuming to expose them, time that will have to be taken from other,
scientifically more important things. This is a dilemma we must come to grips with.
References
Hollien, H., L. Geison and J.W. Hicks Jr. (1987). Voice stress evaluators and lie detection. Journal of
Forensic Sciences, 32, 405-418.
Liberman, A. (2003). Apparatus and methods for detecting emotions. United States Patent, Patent No.: US
6,638,217 B1, Date of Patent: Oct. 28, 2003.
Rice, B. (1978). The new truth machines. Psychology Today, 12, 61-78.
Shipp, T. and K. Izdebski (1981). Current evidence for the existence of laryngeal macrotremor and
microtremor. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 26, 501-505.

Re:there are two enemies of science and progress (5, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659447)

Some researchers published an article with an inflamatory title: "Charlatanry in forensic speech science: A problem to be taken seriously", and got sued for libel.

There's nothing wrong with the title if they do indeed demonstrate that there is charlatanry in forensics speech science. It sounds like they did just that. There are times when an inflamatory-seeming word is still the correct word.

Re:there are two enemies of science and progress (1, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659573)

"charlatanry" isn't an objective standard, testable with evidence. "False claims in forensic speech science" would have been just as descriptive and perfectly objective.

Re:there are two enemies of science and progress (4, Insightful)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659847)

This isn't about censorship or intellectual property laws, it's about a company protecting its image from mudslinging.

Truth is an absolute defense to libel. Also if it can't be shown one way or another to be fact or not it's not libel as libel only concerns factual matters not opinions. If the paper is even reasonably well written they have little to worry about. What happened is they published a paper that shows the "science" behind lie detectors to be questionable at best, and a company that makes lie detectors threatened to sue them because the paper shows their product to be useless. A better approach (read more effective) would have been if they used the money they paid those lawyers to instead commission their own study of the effectiveness of lie detectors. This of course assumes that they actually believe in their own product, and don't already know it to be a scam.

How it works... (2, Informative)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658719)

Nemesysco's Poly-Layered Voice Analysis measures 18 parameters of speech in real-time for interrogators at police, military and secret-services agencies. Its accuracy as a lie detector has proven to be less important than its ability to more quickly pinpoint for interrogators where there are problems in a subject's story. Officers then can zero in much more quickly with their traditional interrogation techniques.

The software measures voice for a variety of parameters including deception, excitement, stress, mental effort, concentration, hesitation, anger, love and lust. It works prerecorded, over the phone and live, the company said. V Entertainment recommends it for screening phone calls, checking the truthfulness of people with whom you deal or gauging romantic interest.

The display can show each measured parameter in a separate window, with real-time traces of instantaneous measurements while flashing the overall for each parameter, such as "false probable," "high stress" and "SOS." Ultimately, the company plans to offer versions of its detectors for cell phones, dating services, teaching aids, toys and games.

=Smidge=

I have some software for you. (5, Insightful)

professorguy (1108737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658893)

My poly-layered ectoplasmic analysis software measures 22 parameters of ESP in real-time for psychics. It's accuracy is not proven, but it lets psychics more quickly pinpoint where there are problems in psychic emanations. Officiating psychics can zero in much more quickly with their traditional testing techniques.

.

Hey, look! I can blast buzzwords and pretend my software works too!

So how much would you pay? Wait, don't answer because this can flash the overall value for each parameter in a separate window! Now how much would you pay?

...boneheads...

Re:How it works... (4, Interesting)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658961)

Nemesysco's Poly-Layered Voice Analysis measures 18 parameters of speech in real-time for interrogators at police, military and secret-services agencies. Its accuracy as a lie detector has proven to be less important than its ability to more quickly pinpoint for interrogators where there are problems in a subject's story. Officers then can zero in much more quickly with their traditional interrogation techniques.

The software measures voice for a variety of parameters including deception, excitement, stress, mental effort, concentration, hesitation, anger, love and lust. It works prerecorded, over the phone and live, the company said. V Entertainment recommends it for screening phone calls, checking the truthfulness of people with whom you deal or gauging romantic interest.

The display can show each measured parameter in a separate window, with real-time traces of instantaneous measurements while flashing the overall for each parameter, such as "false probable," "high stress" and "SOS." Ultimately, the company plans to offer versions of its detectors for cell phones, dating services, teaching aids, toys and games.

Interesting. I wonder how it measures up to method acting. ... and politicians.

I can imagine someone taking a politicians speech and running it through this sort of analysis, especially since it can use recorded audio.

Heck, start by computing a baseline and run through recordings of previous Presidents, working your way toward the current administration.

I expect it would make for a very interesting paper (and I expect a footnote, you can contact me for proper attribution. No grant money kickback necessary, but if you need a data-cruncher, I'd be happy to help. :) )

Re:How it works... (3, Funny)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659153)

Nemesysco's Poly-Layered Voice Analysis... measures voice for a variety of parameters including deception, excitement, stress, mental effort, concentration, hesitation, anger, love and lust. It works prerecorded... Ultimately, the company plans to offer versions of its detectors for cell phones, dating services, teaching aids, toys and games.

Interesting. I wonder how it measures up to method acting.

Screw that, you're really just curious if that phone sex girl is into you or not.

Am I the only one who was expecting a statement from Nemesysco advertising "Our products are for entertainment purposes only." ?

Re:How it works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26659753)

Nemesysco's Poly-Layered Voice Analysis... measures voice for a variety of parameters including deception, excitement, stress, mental effort, concentration, hesitation, anger, love and lust. It works prerecorded... Ultimately, the company plans to offer versions of its detectors for cell phones, dating services, teaching aids, toys and games.

Interesting. I wonder how it measures up to method acting.

Screw that, you're really just curious if that phone sex girl is into you or not.

Am I the only one who was expecting a statement from Nemesysco advertising "Our products are for entertainment purposes only." ?

Sorry honey, I don't believe that "mind shattering" orgasm was real. If it had been the dildo would have turned green, instead its red.

Re:How it works... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26659273)

I can imagine someone taking a politicians speech and running it through this sort of analysis, especially since it can use recorded audio.

It would show no stress whatsoever. If a politician is reading from a teleprompter, it is duckspeaking, and not actually thinking about the words it's reading.

If the politician isn't using a teleprompter, you'd get the same flat-line reading you'd get from any other sociopath. Some sincerely believe their lies, others can switch that belief on for just long enough to get the lie out, and then switch the belief off again as soon as there's an opportunity to gain from breaking whatever promise was uttered.

Re:How it works... (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659615)

I can imagine someone taking a politicians speech and running it through this sort of analysis, especially since it can use recorded audio.

All it would do is sort the politicians by skill level; really really skillfull politicians and administrators generally construct their positions in such a way so that they are completely honest when the promise nothing, but leave enough room for your gestalt psychlogoy to fill in the blanks and hear promises all over the place.

Re:How it works... (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659685)

I'd go so far as to say that skilled politicians are somewhat sociopathic in that regard - they can lie without any stress because they see nothing wrong with it and expect to get away with it.

Re:How it works... (4, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659835)

My point is that this isn't lying, it's the listener lying to himself about what he heard... When Reagan said, "Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down this Wall!" he wasn't lying about his unwillingness to tear down the wall himself, he was just phrasing his position in such a way the made everyone hear "OMG Reagan promises to defeat teh sovs!" when in fact Reagan was taking responsibility for no action on his part.

Just the same, when Obama says "Yes we can close Guantanamo!" he isn't promising to do a goddamn thing, he's just phrasing his aspirations for what America could do in such a way that people hear "OMG Barack is gonna close gitmo!"

This is not lying, and treating it like it is is just victimology of the voter against eeeeeeevil politicians.

Re:How it works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26659699)

The software measures voice for a variety of parameters including deception, excitement, stress, mental effort, concentration, hesitation, anger, love and lust. It works prerecorded, over the phone and live, the company said.

Bull. Fucking. Shit.

Re:How it works... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658987)

While I would love to have this, I'd prefer nobody else did. I can use the minesweeper algorithm when I need to, and I know nobody else can do that; I never lie, but I still have my secrets.

Presumably, all the Swedish researchers need (5, Funny)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658721)

to refute this libel claim, is a lie detector test :-)

Oh wait...

Re:Presumably, all the Swedish researchers need (5, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659021)

Lie detectors don't really detect lies. This girl I know has accused me of stalking her again and again after I asked her out; somebody told her he saw me following her around for 2 days afterwards, and she bought into it. She's taken it so seriously, she actually believes her own bullshit, straight through. Put us both on any sort of polygraph or other 'lie detector' and it'll read normal, for two conflicting stories.

Re:Presumably, all the Swedish researchers need (5, Interesting)

ender8282 (1233032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659259)

Don't know the law in the EU but in the US it looks like making a statement in good faith or making a true statement are both defenses. This means that if the scientist has done a reasonable amount of research and believes that the machine is bogus then he will pass the test and wouldn't be held liable for libel.

Re:Presumably, all the Swedish researchers need (2, Interesting)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659439)

It may not go very well for the Scientists.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libel_tourism [wikipedia.org]

Re:Presumably, all the Swedish researchers need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26659303)

A lie is intentionally false. What you're describing is not a lie.

Re:Presumably, all the Swedish researchers need (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659553)

Okay, true. Lie detectors don't detect anti-truth. :)

Streisand effect strikes again (4, Insightful)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658747)

I wonder when companies will realize that trying to silence people in this modern age will just lead to the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect [wikipedia.org]

Re:Streisand effect strikes again (2, Interesting)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658919)

truth. From TFA:

"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," says Francisco Lacerda to the Dagens Nyheter.

I also find it funny, and sad, that a Swedish entity caved so easily to a legal threat from outside the country (and from outside the country's legal system).

Re:Streisand effect strikes again (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26658995)

The article was published in and withdrawn by "The international journal of speech, language and the law", presumably not a Swedish entity.

Re:Streisand effect strikes again (4, Informative)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659019)

It was a British journal.

Re:Streisand effect strikes again (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659463)

Well if it was Briton there's no way they would take the chance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libel_tourism

Re:Streisand effect strikes again (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26659509)

It's sad; the poor British always try so hard to be nice to every whinging minority. They feel guilty for their ancestors having a great empire that beat some sense into many backwards peoples.

Re:Streisand effect strikes again (4, Informative)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659109)

I also find it funny, and sad, that a Swedish entity caved so easily to a legal threat from outside the country (and from outside the country's legal system).

To be clear: the researchers are Swedish, but the publisher which caved to the legal threat was in the UK (Equinox [equinoxpub.com] ). From TFA:

In the autumn, Equinox, the British publisher of the magazine, were canvassed by the Israeli company Nemesysco Limited, a manufacturer of lie detectors. Following this the company demanded that the article be withdrawn, which the publishers duly did.

Your point remains: it's sad that a UK publisher caved so easily to what appears to be a rather baseless accusation. (The article isn't libelous; merely factual.) Luckily the Swedish researchers are doing a good job distributing the information anyways.

Re:Streisand effect strikes again (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659309)

truth. From TFA:

"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," says Francisco Lacerda to the Dagens Nyheter.

I also find it funny, and sad, that a Swedish entity caved so easily to a legal threat from outside the country (and from outside the country's legal system).

Actually, from an english version of the article:http://www.thelocal.se/17188/20090127/ [thelocal.se]

When Nemesysco Limited, an Israeli company which produces lie detecting equipment, caught wind of the story, the firm contacted Equinox, the journal's British publisher, and demanded the article be withdrawn.

Its the British Publisher who caved, not the Swedish entity.

Re:Streisand effect strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26659467)

Once a copy hits the piratebay there will be no stopping it.

Re:Streisand effect strikes again (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659067)

Companies believe money and power makes things go away. They're half right: Money begets power, but the masses have far more power. We already know why: how do you shut down/filter/etc the entire Internet? Threaten me legally and the courts have to release the details of the case to the public; threaten me physically and I'm liable to do it myself.

Re:Streisand effect strikes again (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659511)

The problem is that once in a while you'll have a real victim trying to get libelous or whatnot information removed, and they'll be SOL. This isn't the case here of course.

english article (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26658749)

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26658751)

I guess Sweden isn't so neutral. :-P

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26658975)

I guess Sweden isn't so neutral.

Were they ever? Even at their most peaceful periods in history, the Swiss still made them look bad. And during their most successful military history [wikipedia.org] , they managed to flip and sink [wikipedia.org] one of the largest ships of the time. THAT was embarrassing.

Re:Hmm (1)

geobeck (924637) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659537)

No one expects the Swedish Inquisition!

...mainly because there isn't one. That's why it's so unexpected, you see?

A Simple Solution (5, Interesting)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658771)

Forget the lawsuits. Ask the researchers if they'd be willing to be connected to the lie detectors and to then testify that their research and conclusions were made in good faith.

If the detectors indicate a lie, the situation doesn't really change. But if the detectors do not indicate a lie, the manufacturer is pretty well cornered.

Re:A Simple Solution (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658861)

except that are flawed, so your flipping a coin.

Re:A Simple Solution (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658863)

No.

If this "lie detector" stuff is not based on solid scientific ground, then its indication doesn't really matter.

Re:A Simple Solution (4, Insightful)

Asmor (775910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658965)

Except that if the lie detector says the scientists are telling the truth, the company can either:

1. Publicly admit that the scientists are telling the truth.

2. Publicly claim that the scientists are lying and, thus, also publicly admit that their own lie detectors are faulty.

Re:A Simple Solution (2, Insightful)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659241)

I'm not on the lie detector company's side and I sympathize with the Swedish researchers too. However, you seemed to be taking things black-and-white...

In reality it is all about probabilistic correlation between "lie-o-meter" readings and subjects' honesty. This correlation may be strong or poor. Lie detectors may work or not. I don't know. But I think it's how this correlation is measured and interpreted that matters. If the instrument company fails to make the measurement and interpretation on science, and further exaggerate it's actual use, that would be fraud. And scientists take fraud very seriously.

Re:A Simple Solution (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659325)

make the measurement and interpretation on science

Yup. I mean "make the measurement and interpretation based on scientific practices". I screwed things up when editing the post. Sorry for that.

Re:A Simple Solution (2, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659743)

Except that if the lie detector says the scientists are telling the truth, the company can either:

How do you know the lie detector will say the scientists are telling the truth? The scientists themselves say its results are the same as chance.

Your scenario only works if the lie detector works, in which case the scientists are wrong (though not necessarily lying, so we don't get into any paradoxes here).

Re:A Simple Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26658897)

Forget the lawsuits. Ask the researchers if they'd be willing to be connected to the lie detectors and to then testify that their research and conclusions were made in good faith.

While funny, that isn't conclusive. The scientists' research and conclusions can be in good faith, but still be wrong.

Not that I believe in polygraphs, voice stress analyzers and other crap. They are a complete fraud, with ridiculously high rates of false positives & false negatives.

Re:A Simple Solution (4, Interesting)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659103)

Keep in mind that the company is not merely disputing the results of the research. They are claiming libel, which requires maliciousness or deception on the part of the researchers.

Re:A Simple Solution (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26659361)

Keep in mind that the company is not merely disputing the results of the research. They are claiming libel, which requires maliciousness or deception on the part of the researchers.

That is true in the USA and most civilized countries, but not in the UK.

The UK is the easiest place to sue someone for libel and win.

Re:A Simple Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26659547)

What does a fat yank cunt like you know?

Re:A Simple Solution (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659099)

The lie detectors would indicate the researchers believe their own conclusions and their process, if they didn't evade it. It wouldn't indicate truth or accuracy; but libel doesn't rely on either of those, it relies on malicious intent spreading known falsehoods. The ultimate defense against libel and slander is truth; second that, is believing you speak the truth.

Re:A Simple Solution (1)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659203)

Better yet, ask the manufacturers if they would be willing to bet money (let's say equal to the value of the company) on a simple test: 100 people will be evaluated with your machine; 50 of them will be lying, 50 will not; your machine must score 95% or better.

Chances are they wouldn't take the bet because they know damn well that their machine is actually no better than random.

Re:A Simple Solution (0, Redundant)

Xerolooper (1247258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659563)

Forget the lawsuits. Ask the researchers if they'd be willing to be connected to the lie detectors and to then testify that their research and conclusions were made in good faith.

If the detectors indicate a lie, the situation doesn't really change. But if the detectors do not indicate a lie, the manufacturer is pretty well cornered.

Good, except I would also like to see the Nemesysco guys hooked up. Then ask them to explain how accurate their device is? Admittedly not a productive endeavor but it would be entertaining. Imagine if device said they were lying about the devices accuracy the scientists in the room heads would explode in an infinite logic loop.

Suits suck (2, Funny)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658789)

I'm so glad my employer lets me come in casual every day.

!liedetector (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26658791)

It's not a "lie detector." That's the point.

Clench your toes and hold your breath. (4, Interesting)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658817)

It's apparently fairly easy to fool a lie detector, and it's gotten to the point now where lie detector tests can't be submitted as evidence in court because they're so unreliable. Mind you, they still have a use on Maury to determine who's been cheating on who. That's always entertaining.

Re:Clench your toes and hold your breath. (4, Interesting)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659087)

You are thinking about the normal sweat and heart rate measuring detectors. The article is about voice stress analysis detectors.
Insurance companies are using your voice over the phone, to test if your are lying. Strangely the companies claim that most of their customers are.
Go figure...

Re:Clench your toes and hold your breath. (4, Informative)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659117)

gotten to the point now where

It got that point sometime in the 1920's in almost all states, since polygraphs didn't meet the Frye Standard [wikipedia.org] for evidence. Basically, in the scientific community at-large thinks you are full of shit, you are de-fact full of shit.

Now we use the Daubert Standard, that looks at relevance and peer-reviewed reliability. [wikipedia.org]

E-meter (4, Funny)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658845)

I guess it's back to using an E-meter or flipping a coin to see who is telling the truth. :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-meter [wikipedia.org]

E-meter Alternatives (2, Funny)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659297)

Perhaps we should bring back Trail by Ordeal [fire, water, combat, rabid wolverine] as a means of determining truth. Give them each a broadsword and let Odin decide who's telling the truth. Besides cutting back on this sort of dispute, it might make for an excellent (or at least revenue generating ) reality teevee series.

They should use their product on themselves (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26658849)

Fuck israel

Stupid kooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26658851)

I suppose if any of these go to court scientists are going be forced to take a lie detector test to disprove the validity of their findings?

We can all play this game can't we? Perhaps the faeries or some deity made the scientist publish against their will all that'd be needed for a win in court would be to falsify the unfalsifyable and plain absurd?

Game on!

Abstract... (5, Informative)

BigGar' (411008) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658895)

Here's the abstract of the article from http://www.equinoxjournals.com/ojs/index.php/IJSLL/article/view/3775 [equinoxjournals.com]

ABSTRACT

A lie detector which can reveal lie and deception in some automatic and perfectly reliable way is an old idea we have often met with in science fiction books and comic strips. This is all very well. It is when machines claimed to be lie detectors appear in the context of criminal investigations or security applications that we need to be concerned. In the present paper we will describe two types of âoedeceptionâ or âoestress detectors" (euphemisms to refer to what quite clearly is known as âoelie detectorsâ). Both types of detection are claimed to be based on voice analysis but we found no scientific evidence to support the manufacturersâ(TM) claims. Indeed, our review of scientific studies will show that these machines perform at chance level when tested for reliability. Given such results and the absence of scientific support for the underlying principles it is justified to view the use of these machines as charlatanry and we argue that there are serious ethical and security reasons to demand that responsible authorities and institutions should not get involved in such practices.

I wasn't able to find a copy of the paper itself.

Re:Abstract... (1, Interesting)

novakyu (636495) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659037)

I think the authors are in part responsible for the manufacturer's response. Words like "charlatanry" doesn't really belong in a scientific paper.

If the authors simply published their findings, that these machines do not work better compared to random guessing, and let the results stand for themselves, then regardless of how much the manufacturer disliked and disagreed with the researchers' findings, he would have had no grounds for a libel suit (and the journal/publisher would have seen that right away).

Scientists shouldn't let their moral judgment and scientific work mix.

Re:Abstract... (3, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659423)

This isn't moral judgement. It's a normal conclusion based on their research. Things like this happen all the time in science - it would not be at all out of place in the conclusions part of their paper.

Re:Abstract... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26659139)

I wasn't able to find a copy of the paper itself.

Unless you make it all the way down to the second sentence of the summary.

To catch you lying about my lying machine (1)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658911)

An Israeli company is saying that Swedes are lying about how easy it is to fool a machine capable of detecting lying. But the Swedes are publishing results that meet the standard of good science: verifiable and repeatable.

I'm goin with the Swedes on this...

Amazingly good online translation (1)

kiscica (89316) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658921)

Actually, my first reaction on reading the article was "holy *&#$&*#*$, this is amazingly good for an automated translation."
Looks like Google's making some serious statistical-translation progress. Mindblowing.

Re:Amazingly good online translation (1)

slashdotmsiriv (922939) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659009)

Or that Swedish syntax and expressions are amazingly similar to English.

Re:Amazingly good online translation (2, Interesting)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659027)

I guess that's because English and Swedish share a lot of common roots... both are languages of Germanic peoples... Anyway it's my guess that falls within the category of "folk linguistics" :-)

Re:Amazingly good online translation (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659765)

Actually, my first reaction on reading the article was "holy *&#$&*#*$, this is amazingly good for an automated translation."

I thought exactly the same thing. I had to check the url bar a few times.

Ofcourse there were a few places where sentences weren't grammatical, bit still, I'm very impressed.

Re:Amazingly good online translation (1)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659821)

I was really surprised about it as well. I think there are two factors here:

1) Swedish and English are not too far from each other in terms of syntax and so on (as others have mentioned.

2) The translated article was hit by slashdot, and I suspect a lot of Swedish-talking people have helped Google with the translation. Of course, here it also helps that a lot of Swedes are good at English, and therefore able to help.

Nemesysco? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26658935)

As in, Nemesys co, as in Nemesis Co? Man, I sure wouldn't work for my nemesis. These scientists should have seen it coming.

One word: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26658943)

Jews.

Cordially,
Kilgore Trout

Underlying technology (5, Funny)

RDW (41497) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658947)

It's probably because the scientists' bullshit detector [thecryptmag.com] infringed on Nemesysco's patents.

Should be pulled off the market.. (4, Insightful)

kabocox (199019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658955)

I know lie detectors have only been more of toys or threats than really useful tools. A trained questioner doesn't need a lie detector. A lie detector is more for them to let you know that they are almost positive that you've lied on the subject.

There are folks that want lie detectors to work like in the movies or have it on their cell phones so that they know when the other person is lying. They'd hate to have it used on them though. I have news for you.

Everyone has a built-in lie detector. It's just how well that it's been trained to work. How would the world be different if we gave elementary school kids the same questioning for lies tools that are usually taught to police detectives? Short answer; not too different. They'd just know faster when the teachers are lost and clueless, and any attempts to bring new information that you know the teacher doesn't have would just be punished faster. We would get politicians that are even better at lying though.

Ever take one of these? (5, Interesting)

scotts13 (1371443) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659091)

Ever take a lie detector test? Years back, a prospective employer sent me for one. Unlike most people, I actually read the release they asked me to sign, and discovered: 1. I'd be giving up the right to challenge the results of the test, by any manner, and 2. The testing agency reserved the right to sell the results of the test, good or bad, to ANYONE, in perpetuity. Does this sound ethical, or as though they trust their own test? I told them to stuff the test, and the job. The next day, I was called about the position, and explained I could not, in conscience, acquiesce to the polygraph test. They said, "Oh, don't worry about that, we get it if we can, but it doesn't mean anything. Welcome aboard!"

Re:Ever take one of these? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26659735)

I thought that even asking a prospective employee to do that (let alone making it a condition for employment) was illegal. Maybe that's a new law or maybe it doesn't exist at all.

Re:Ever take one of these? (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659789)

I'd still be wary of working for a company that subjects people to that kind of release form. Or lie detector tests, for that matter.

Swedish Lawyer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26659111)

SmurgenFlurgenLawyerBorken

Bork Bork Bork

A new Muppet Character.

Easy... (2, Insightful)

Nicopa (87617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659205)

Easy solution: the scientists should agree to undergo an interview in which they would be asked if they have proof of what they are saying. A lie detector provided by this Nemesys Co. would then detect if they are lying or not.

Lie detectors are ruining the Torture Industry! (5, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659249)

If lie detectors *really* worked, we wouldn't have to torture so many people, would we? We'd just hook them up to the lie detector, and ask them questions, like, "Will the LHC discover the Higgs boson?", and then we would know if they were guilty or not.

The US could close down Guantanamo in a fortnight.

But then the Torture Industry would need a bailout.

Or maybe the Torture Industry should just get a cut of every lie detector sold?

Re:Lie detectors are ruining the Torture Industry! (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659481)

If they worked we could do away with trial by jury - just hook them up and ask "did you kill your wife?" and if the detector says they did then throw them in jail for 20 years.

Re:Lie detectors are ruining the Torture Industry! (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659609)

If they worked we could do away with trial by jury - just hook them up and ask "did you kill your wife?" and if the detector says they did then throw them in jail for 20 years.

Wouldn't work so well if the person being questioned believed at the time that they did not. (Now, if lie detectors were accurately named, they'd be called "stress detectors", but lies are not the only source of stress in a courtroom...)

Re:Lie detectors are ruining the Torture Industry! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26659639)

If lie detectors *really* worked, we wouldn't have to torture so many people, would we? We'd just hook them up to the lie detector, and ask them questions, like, "Will the LHC discover the Higgs boson?", and then we would know if they were guilty or not.

The US could close down Guantanamo in a fortnight.

But then the Torture Industry would need a bailout.

Or maybe the Torture Industry should just get a cut of every lie detector sold?

Just enact legislation that says it's illegal to use a lie detector unless you have a certification requiring prior torture experience...

Oh wait then every married woman would qualify. Never mind.

Re:Lie detectors are ruining the Torture Industry! (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659687)

If lie detectors *really* worked, we wouldn't have to torture so many people, would we? We'd just hook them up to the lie detector, and ask them questions, like, "Will the LHC discover the Higgs boson?", and then we would know if they were guilty or not.

Even if lie detectors worked, that wouldn't force the suspect to actually say anything.

And the Higgs boson will be swallowed by a micro black hole before the LHC has the chance to detect anything :)

There is no such thing as a "Lie Detector" (5, Insightful)

jeko (179919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659429)

Polygraphs, voice stress analyzers, coin flips, sticking your hand in the statue's mouth and Scientology's "E-Meters" all share the same validity in catching lies -- basically none. It's all pretend "science" with cool moving needles and wires, but you might as well be watching a seismograph for all the good it does you. It simply gives government agencies and insurance companies an excuse to call you a liar. "Hey, don't look at me, the MACHINE says you're lying..."

Now FOX has this propaganda puff piece for the TSA called "Lie to Me" going where an actor I like is helping spread nonsense I can't stand.

Can you imagine the revolution society would undergo if "voice stress analyzers" actually worked? "I did not have sex with that woman!" BZZZ! "Saddam Hussein is building nuclear weapons!" BZZZ! "The 700 billion will be wisely spent!" BZZZZ! "I was misquoted!" BZZZ!

Re:There is no such thing as a "Lie Detector" (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659665)

"I did not have sex with that woman!" BZZZ!

The full quote was "I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinski." Which, if Bill were actually addressing Monica and referring to Hillary might have been true.

Re:There is no such thing as a "Lie Detector" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26659795)

I saw a bit of 'Lie to Me' last night... the scene had that actor you like discredit a voice stress analyzer.

Re:There is no such thing as a "Lie Detector" (4, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659831)

Polygraphs, voice stress analyzers, coin flips, sticking your hand in the statue's mouth and Scientology's "E-Meters" all share the same validity in catching lies -- basically none. It's all pretend "science" with cool moving needles and wires, but you might as well be watching a seismograph for all the good it does you. It simply gives government agencies and insurance companies an excuse to call you a liar. "Hey, don't look at me, the MACHINE says you're lying..."

Oh, all those things (including the seismograph) can have quite a bit of validity at catching lies... if the person being interrogated believes they are valid lie-catchers. As a psychological tool in the hands of an interrogator skilled in the 'old fashioned' method of detecting lies, they can be quite handy.

That's about the only use a polygraph has. Enough people don't know what crocks they are that they may be convinced that their lies have been or will be discovered by the machine and spill the truth. I've even heard of a detective faking it by using a non-functional box, with a concealed switch that made red and green lights come on. He made it flash red when he thought the suspect was lying, and well he was right enough that the suspect panicked and confessed.

Of course, if an empty box and a hand switch work equally well as the 'real thing', that kinda defeats the need for polygraph vendors and their expensive toys. Thus this kind of lawsuit.

#irc.trooltalk.com (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26659499)

Anti-Semitism (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26659633)

It was extremely tasteless and irresponsible for the Swedes to publish this, especially considering the fact that two days ago was Holocaust day. Shame on them for insulting the victims, killing them a second time. Being a Holocaust fundamentalist, I ask everybody to join me in boycotting everything Swedish.

Real reason for the suit (1)

stephencrane (771345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659641)

"It's not a lie if you believe it, Jerry."

This is Old News (1)

unixluv (696623) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659717)

http://antipolygraph.org/lie-behind-the-lie-detector.pdf [antipolygraph.org]

We've known the truth for years. Polygraphs are inadmissible in court for good reasons.

Re:This is Old News (1)

Feanturi (99866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26659829)

This story isn't about a polygraph though, it is instead about a program that analyzes a person's voice to pick out stress/hesitation/etc. I bet more people can beat this method than the already-flawed polygraph though, so I bet it will be just as inadmissable.

Soudns familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26659777)

Premier [Diebold]? ES&S? Sequoia? Names sound familiar?

This is the exact same stunt that the voting systems vendors do whenever anybody finds a security vulnerability in a voting system.

IIRC, Taser International has also been known to use legal action to silence reports of Tasers causing deaths.

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