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APA Election Results Point to Possible Schism
Jul 31st, 2014 at 7:10pm
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Results of the American Polygraph Association annual elections, held via electronic balloting from July 14-20, suggest a philosophical schism has developed within that industry-leading organization.

Followers of the polygraph scene in general, and the American Polygraph Association in particular, may be interested in learning what transpired.

There was only one contested APA race this year, that of president-elect. In that contest, I ran against Walt Goodson. Mr. Goodson currently serves on the APA board as VP of Law Enforcement.

Seeking to call attention to what I consider major deficiencies that plague the polygraph industry, I ran on a simple three-point platform:


  • A bill of rights, similar to what exists in the health care field, for polygraph test subjects, to better inform consumers about the risks, realities and limitations of polygraph testing

    An ongoing countermeasure challenge series, integral to APA seminars, pitting motivated individuals against randomly chosen polygraph examiners in situations that mimic real-world testing scenarios

    Equality for all APA members, domestic (USA) and international, primarily as it regards access to educational materials presented at APA events


In the lengthy run-up to the APA elections, I campaigned vigorously on a variety of Internet-based polygraph forums. The ensuing discussions were spirited and revealing.

In addition to the publication of my full candidate statement in the pre-election issue of the  APA magazine -- a standard practice available to all candidates -- I sent email to a large number of APA members further articulating my positions and concerns.

By contrast, Mr. Goodson's platform – also available in the current APA magazine – was decidedly more inward looking, focusing on APA housekeeping issues and member benefits.

Only about 20 percent of the APA membership voted. While such lackluster numbers illustrate the traditional voter apathy within the APA, this year's elections saw the highest turnout since 2011 when the APA switched to electronic balloting.

Here are the results for APA president-elect:

Walt Goodson    416
Dan Mangan        74
write in                 5

As the numbers reveal, I received 15 percent of the votes cast for president-elect. Frankly, I was hoping for at least a couple of hundred votes, and, based on the pre-election support I received, thought I'd get them.

Disappointing, yes, but at least it's a start. Next year I'll be better organized and have more resources at my disposal.

The election results, while lopsided, nevertheless suggest that a progressive movement is beginning to gain momentum within the APA. That movement is rooted in consumer protection, realistic research (i.e., utilizing a countermeasure component), and equal treatment of examiners within the APA.

Beyond that, there seems to be a desire among part of the electorate to see an infusion of new blood in APA leadership roles.

For now, though, what do these election results mean for individuals finding themselves facing a polygraph test?

Here's my take:

For those who place themselves in the hands of police or government polygraph examiners, I suspect it will be business as usual.

But for people, who, for whatever reason, find themselves facing a civilian APA examiner in private practice, there's a growing chance that examiner will alert the potential test-taker to the risks, realities and limitations of polygraph testing, thereby reducing victimization by polygraph and avoiding attendant harms – some of which are irreparable – that can result from the polygraph process.

So, while the philosophical schism within the APA is a relatively modest one at this juncture, it's at least a credible beginning for a growing progressive track within the polygraph field – one that will work toward the betterment of a checkered industry that is clearly in need of repair.
  
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Re: APA Election Results Point to Possible Schism
Reply #1 - Aug 1st, 2014 at 1:04am
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Dan, you are just trying to sell the same old snake oil with a new bottle!  You can't fix the polygraph and you can't make it respectable!  It is a scam - nothing more and nothing less!  Your description of yourself is enough to induce vomiting! 

A Polygraph Professional for Today's New Reality

Daniel Mangan, M.A. is a proven polygraph specialist serving the sexual offender management and criminal justice communities, as well as the general public.


As one who readily acknowledges the impact of the Internet on traditional approaches to polygraph testing, Dan's uniquely open polygraph paradigm embraces the new reality of the information age. With previously restricted information about polygraph theory, modalities and test-thwarting countermeasures now available to anyone on line, Dan uses an approach unique in the polygraph field: open-book polygraph testing.


A radical departure from the sleight-of-hand, trickery and psychological manipulation that have been harshly criticized hallmarks of polygraph testing for decades, Dan's real-world approach is rooted in technical expertise and validated principles. He constantly strives to conduct the most sound, objective and ethical polygraph examinations available anywhere by employing the highest professional standards.


When it comes to polygraph ideology, Dan is very much a progressive who is committed to the betterment of the polygraph field. A staunch proponent of complex and sophisticated advanced polygraph methodologies, Dan is the primary author of A Field Study on the Validity of the Quadri-Track Zone Comparison Technique, published in the September 2008 edition of Physiology & Behavior, a peer-reviewed journal.

Let me summarize: BULLSHIT, BULLSHIT, BULLSHIT ad infinitum!!! 
  

I have been fighting the thugs and charlatans in the polygraph industry for forty years.  I tell about my crusade against the insidious Orwellian polygraph industry in my book FALSE CONFESSIONS - THE TRUE STORY OF DOUG WILLIAMS' CRUSADE AGAINST THE ORWELLIAN POLYGRAPH INDUSTRY.  Please visit my website POLYGRAPH.COM and follow me on TWITTER @DougWilliams_PG


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Re: APA Election Results Point to Possible Schism
Reply #2 - Aug 1st, 2014 at 2:48am
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Doug, please take a look at what I proposed on several polygraph forums during my campaign...


-------start of original bill of rights post -----

"No test is perfect."

And some -- like polygraph -- are far from it.

What of the victims of polygraph tests? I speak of those individuals who suffer false positive results.

Clearly, many such victims would be better off had they never taken the polygraph.

Perhaps prevention -- and fully informed consent -- is the key.

Although much is made of polygraph ethics, its scientific robustness, very favorable accuracy (which is often compared to that of medical tests) and purported court-qualified reliability, there seems to be one thing that is conspicuously absent: a bill of rights for test takers.

It seems to me that if polygraph is to ever gain the respect that has been eluding the field for some 90 years, then a bill of rights would go a long way toward achieving that goal.

I have taken a stab at drafting a list of items to be incorporated into "bill of rights." Here it is:


1. Considerate and respectful treatment from the polygraph examiner throughout all phases of the polygraph process.

2. Knowledge of the name of the examiner who has primary responsibility for conducting the examination, and the names and professional relationships of other examines who may review the test for quality-assurance purposes.

3. Receive, if requested, a statement of qualifications of the examiner, including the number of exams they have run and their own success rate with those exams.

4. Receive, prior to the test, information on the technique to be used and citations (or abstracts) for peer-reviewed research that supports such technique.

5. Receive information, prior to the test, about polygraph theory and the testing process, accuracy estimates as determined by peer-reviewed research, and the prospects for error -- all in terms the subject can understand.

6. Receive, prior to the test, a complete (as possible) list of potential reasons for a false or inconclusive result, including instrument-related (hardware and software) variances that could skew results.

7. Receive, prior to the exam, as much information about the risks, realities and limitations of polygraph testing -- including opposing views from respected academic and legal sources -- the subject may need in order to better give informed consent.

8. The right to refuse the exam, or halt the exam at any stage of the process.

9. The right to be advised as to the reason for the presence of any individual besides the examiner during any portion of the exam process.

10. Receive, if requested, a complete copy of the entire exam, including full-length continuous video, charts, work sheets, score sheets (manual), computerized scoring output, notes, and any background information supplied to the examiner.

11. Confidential treatment of all communications and records pertaining to the examination. Written permission shall be obtained before the polygraph records can be made available to anyone not directly concerned with the immediate case.

12. Mandatory video recording of the entire examination process.


Why a "bill of rights"? There are bills or rights for all types of situations...medical patients, mental health clients, even for consumers of commercial credit.

A bill of rights for examinees would go a long way to demonstrating that polygraph is not the witchcraft that it's often made out to be.

Beyond that, it would help prevent polygraph abuses, and provide victims of false-positive results with a solid platform from which to launch remedial measures.

Again, this list is just a rough draft.


-------end of original bill of rights post -----

Where's the snake oil in that?
  
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Re: APA Election Results Point to Possible Schism
Reply #3 - Aug 1st, 2014 at 1:01pm
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Dan

Respectfully, in keeping with your open approach, could you share with this board your answers to these questions?

How many exams have you conducted?  What is your personal success rate for those exams?  And how is "success rate" defined and determined?
  

No good social purpose can be served by inventing ways of beating the lie detector or deceiving polygraphers.   David Thoreson Lykken
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Re: APA Election Results Point to Possible Schism
Reply #4 - Aug 1st, 2014 at 4:28pm
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Pailryder, in round numbers, I've conducted about 1,100 polygraph tests.

While I have had many confirmed cases verifying the opinions gleaned from polygraph tests I conducted, there is a greater number of exams wherein ground truth remains unknown. But that is precisely the point I wish to make through a bill of rights for polygraph test subjects: an examiner's accuracy rate is usually unknown and is in fact unknowable.

Consumers have a right, in my opinion, before they subject themselves to the polygraph process, to know that an examiner's personal accuracy rate is unknown.

Clearly, there may be some examiners whose accuracy rate is known, but they are probably focusing on a fairly small number of incident-specific polygraphs in criminal matters.

I am the first to admit that all bets are off, especially with screening tests, when the results point to NSR/NDI. Did the subject beat the box? It happens. That's why an ongoing countermeasure challenge series, integral to APA seminars, was a key component of my platform for APA president-elect.

A countermeasure challenge series, would, in my opinion, help the polygraph industry learn more about its vulnerabilities in that regard.


The term “success rate” is pure marketing language and is another matter entirely. Success rate should not be confused with accuracy.  By success, I refer to whether the polygraph helped accomplished what the consumer wanted it to accomplish.

Examples:

>Did the criminal defense attorney manage to get charges against his client dropped after the client passed a polygraph?

>Did the university student accused of cheating manage to avoid expulsion by proffering his polygraph results?

>Did the suspected spouse in an infidelity allegation – who agreed to take a polygraph if it would serve as a pathway to couples therapy regardless of the result – manage to convince his suspicious wife that solutions to her trust issues are better served through counseling?

>Did the heretofore trusted home health aide, after a favorable polygraph, convince her employer that she did not steal from her elderly charge, thereby allowing her to keep her job?

Those are all practical measures of success.

Polygraph, particularly at the private-practice retail level where I do most of my work, is a service industry. It is my belief that a consumer who is fully informed about the risks, realities and limitations of polygraph testing is much better able to determine whether polygraph is a worthwhile option.
  
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Re: APA Election Results Point to Possible Schism
Reply #5 - Aug 1st, 2014 at 5:25pm
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Doug,

While it is true that Mr. Mangan’s Polygraph Examinee’s Bill of Rights does not change the inherent nature of the quackery that is lie detection nor excuse his present practice of same, if he hopes to put himself and his colleagues out of business through his efforts as I (and you and others) do through openly opposing it, then he is to be congratulated. 

The jury remains out on the matter…
  
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Re: APA Election Results Point to Possible Schism
Reply #6 - Aug 1st, 2014 at 7:12pm
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Drew Richardson wrote on Aug 1st, 2014 at 5:25pm:
Doug,

While it is true that Mr. Mangan’s Polygraph Examinee’s Bill of Rights does not change the inherent nature of the quackery that is lie detection nor excuse his present practice of same, if he hopes to put himself and his colleagues out of business through his efforts as I (and you and others) do through openly opposing it, then he is to be congratulated. 

The jury remains out on the matter…



Dr. Richardson - I agree that if Dan truly hopes to put himself and his colleagues out of business he should be congratulated - but I will congratulate him AFTER he shuts down his business to set an example for his fellow con men.

But I suspect you know as well as I - that not his intention.

Dan reminds me of a polygraph operator by the name of Larry Talley who I often debated in the 80s.  He was then the vice president of the APA and when it became obvious that the EMPLOYEE POLYGRAPH PROTECTION ACT had a very good chance of becoming law, Talley would argue that all the polygraph industry really needed was more "regulation".

There is no way to address (or fix) the problems inherent in polygraph "testing".  The polygraph is absolutely worthless as a "lie detector".  And the damage done to people who are falsely branded as liars by these con men far exceeds any value it might have as an interrogation tool.

Furthermore, it is sheer arrogance for Dan to suggest that the Almighty polygraph operators should deign to allow their lowly subjects some basic human rights when taking their polygraph "tests".  Of all the unmitigated gall!  But it is typical of the mindset of those in the polygraph industry.  These power drunk bullies are a law unto themselves, they answer to no one, and they are completely out of control.

The only solution to the polygraph problem is to completely eliminate all use of this insidious Orwellian instrument of torture.

« Last Edit: Aug 1st, 2014 at 9:17pm by Doug Williams »  

I have been fighting the thugs and charlatans in the polygraph industry for forty years.  I tell about my crusade against the insidious Orwellian polygraph industry in my book FALSE CONFESSIONS - THE TRUE STORY OF DOUG WILLIAMS' CRUSADE AGAINST THE ORWELLIAN POLYGRAPH INDUSTRY.  Please visit my website POLYGRAPH.COM and follow me on TWITTER @DougWilliams_PG


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Re: APA Election Results Point to Possible Schism
Reply #7 - Aug 5th, 2014 at 7:56am
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Dan Mangan wrote on Aug 1st, 2014 at 4:28pm:
It is my belief that a consumer who is fully informed about the risks, realities and limitations of polygraph testing is much better able to determine whether polygraph is a worthwhile option. 


Dan,
I appreciate and respect your courage for posting here. I would like to ask you what your take is on Post Test Interrogations. Honestly, the rubber hose part is my real beef with polygraphy.
  
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Re: APA Election Results Point to Possible Schism
Reply #8 - Aug 5th, 2014 at 1:33pm
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Arkhangelsk,

Generally speaking, I am against post-test interrogations conducted by polygraph examiners. However, it is often a necessary part of one's job description, as for police and government examiners.

My opinion is that -- in the interest of objectivity -- polygraph exams should be conducted by disinterested civilians -- not a sworn officer or agency employee with a vested interest in succeeding as a part of the home team.

That kind of distance, in my view, better supports the fairness that should be essential to the polygraph process.

By the way, when I articulated this view on another forum, condemnation from polygraphers was swift and universal -- but most of those discussion participants were cops or former cops.

When I conduct tests for private citizens, or for criminal defense attorneys, there is no post-test phase other than reporting the results, answering any questions, and going over the charts (and/or video) if need be.

My polygraph exams are utterly civil if not congenial. There's no reason for them to be anything else. I make it clear that I am paid to render an opinion which is a mere probability statement -- not to solve crimes or get other confessions, although that can be a by-product of the process.

For your information, I take an open-book approach with my potential clients. In fact, my web site has a "Recommended Reading" page designed to introduce a full spectrum of opinions about polygraph. To what extent would-be customers lean one way or the other regarding their faith in the polygraph is strictly up to them.

My goal is to help ensure that potential test-takers -- and indirect consumers of polygraph -- better understand the risks, realities and limitations of polygraph testing.

Using the polygraph as an electronic rubber hose is not a part of my business model, but it is indeed used as such in many other applications.

Sure, the electronic rubber hose can get results, but there's a price to be paid in the form of collateral damage.

  
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Re: APA Election Results Point to Possible Schism
Reply #9 - Aug 5th, 2014 at 1:44pm
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Dan Mangan wrote on Aug 5th, 2014 at 1:33pm:
Arkhangelsk,

Generally speaking, I am against post-test interrogations conducted by polygraph examiners. However, it is often a necessary part of one's job description, as for police and government examiners.

My opinion is that -- in the interest of objectivity -- polygraph exams should be conducted by disinterested civilians -- not a sworn officer or agency employee with a vested interest in succeeding as a part of the home team.

That kind of distance, in my view, better supports the fairness that should be essential to the polygraph process.

By the way, when I articulated this view on another forum, condemnation from polygraphers was swift and universal -- but most of those discussion participants were cops or former cops.

When I conduct tests for private citizens, or for criminal defense attorneys, there is no post-test phase other than reporting the results, answering any questions, and going over the charts (and/or video) if need be.

My polygraph exams are utterly civil if not congenial. There's no reason for them to be anything else. I make it clear that I am paid to render an opinion which is a mere probability statement -- not to solve crimes or get other confessions, although that can be a by-product of the process.

For your information, I take an open-book approach with my potential clients. In fact, my web site has a "Recommended Reading" page designed to introduce a full spectrum of opinions about polygraph. To what extent would-be customers lean one way or the other regarding their faith in the polygraph is strictly up to them.

My goal is to help ensure that potential test-takers -- and indirect consumers of polygraph -- better understand the risks, realities and limitations of polygraph testing.

Using the polygraph as an electronic rubber hose is not a part of my business model, but it is indeed used as such in many other applications.

Sure, the electronic rubber hose can get results, but there's a price to be paid in the form of collateral damage.




Dan:  You say you "render an opinion which is a mere probability statement".  What, in your opinion, is the "probability" that a reaction on a relevant question indicates deception.  Is it 50%, or as the polygraph con men often say 98%?


  

I have been fighting the thugs and charlatans in the polygraph industry for forty years.  I tell about my crusade against the insidious Orwellian polygraph industry in my book FALSE CONFESSIONS - THE TRUE STORY OF DOUG WILLIAMS' CRUSADE AGAINST THE ORWELLIAN POLYGRAPH INDUSTRY.  Please visit my website POLYGRAPH.COM and follow me on TWITTER @DougWilliams_PG


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Re: APA Election Results Point to Possible Schism
Reply #10 - Aug 5th, 2014 at 2:19pm
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Doug, in my opinion, screening exams (LEPET, PCSOT, etc.) are pure utility. Put those aside.

Incident-specific exams are another matter entirely.

On that score, I concur with NAS: Single-issue polygraph accuracy appears to be "well above chance, though well below perfection."

In my business model, all of my clients are thus informed.

To what extent potential clients find a value proposition in that statement is exclusively their decision.
  
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Re: APA Election Results Point to Possible Schism
Reply #11 - Aug 5th, 2014 at 3:07pm
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Dan Mangan wrote on Aug 5th, 2014 at 2:19pm:
Doug, in my opinion, screening exams (LEPET, PCSOT, etc.) are pure utility. Put those aside.

Incident-specific exams are another matter entirely.

On that score, I concur with NAS: Single-issue polygraph accuracy appears to be "well above chance, though well below perfection."

In my business model, all of my clients are thus informed.

To what extent potential clients find a value proposition in that statement is exclusively their decision.


Dan:  Thanks for your response.  So, just to clarify, you are admitting that only "single issue" polygraph tests are somewhat accurate and reliable as a means of detecting deception.   And, would I be correct in assuming that you would consider "well above chance, though well below perfection" to be about 75%?  If we split the difference between chance and perfection it would be 75%.  I don't think those in the unlucky 25% range would agree that that percentage of accuracy and reliability is acceptable!  Falsely branding one out of every four people as liars is not an acceptable error rate!

Also, I'm not clear about what you mean when you say, "screening exams (LEPET, PCSOT, etc.) are pure utility".  Does that mean they are basically worthless as a means of detecting deception - and are only useful as a psychological billy club used by polygraph interrogators to coerce a person into giving a confession or making admissions that would disqualify them?

« Last Edit: Aug 5th, 2014 at 4:12pm by Doug Williams »  

I have been fighting the thugs and charlatans in the polygraph industry for forty years.  I tell about my crusade against the insidious Orwellian polygraph industry in my book FALSE CONFESSIONS - THE TRUE STORY OF DOUG WILLIAMS' CRUSADE AGAINST THE ORWELLIAN POLYGRAPH INDUSTRY.  Please visit my website POLYGRAPH.COM and follow me on TWITTER @DougWilliams_PG


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Re: APA Election Results Point to Possible Schism
Reply #12 - Aug 5th, 2014 at 6:49pm
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Doug, in my opinion -- and I'm not a scientist or a researcher -- 75 percent accuracy is a reasonable assumption, given the observations (and cautions) made by NAS.

But whether the single-issue accuracy rate is 65 percent, 75 percent or even 85 percent, a polygraph test is still a crapshoot. By that I mean the outcome of the test is uncertain.

My gut tells me that real-life polygraph testing is appreciably less accurate than it is represented in the APA's latest meta-analysis (the executive summary of which is available at www.polygraph.org). Why do I say that? There's a lot of monte carlo modeling and other test-tube wizardry in the APA analysis, in my opinion.

And all bets are off when it comes to countermeasures. That's why I've been advocating, for a couple of years now, an ongoing countermeasure challenge series integral to APA events.

About screening tests...  They "work" to the extent that people often make admissions. That's the utility I spoke of. From what I've seen, though, screening tests are much more likely to flag deception than they are to verify truth. In other words, the screening process does not treat deceptive and truthful candidates equally.

So, the price paid in collateral damage is very high indeed, but do screening polygraphs serve the greater good?

Perhaps that all depends on whose ox is being gored.

While the pro/con polygraph arguments rage on, polygraph continues to grow -- not just in the USA but world wide.

There is even a bill currently in congress to relax EPPA.

My mission, at least part of it, is to add a measure of reality to the debate by being a moderate voice.
  
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Re: APA Election Results Point to Possible Schism
Reply #13 - Aug 5th, 2014 at 8:35pm
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Dan Mangan wrote on Aug 5th, 2014 at 6:49pm:
Doug, in my opinion -- and I'm not a scientist or a researcher -- 75 percent accuracy is a reasonable assumption, given the observations (and cautions) made by NAS.

But whether the single-issue accuracy rate is 65 percent, 75 percent or even 85 percent, a polygraph test is still a crapshoot. By that I mean the outcome of the test is uncertain.

My gut tells me that real-life polygraph testing is appreciably less accurate than it is represented in the APA's latest meta-analysis (the executive summary of which is available at www.polygraph.org). Why do I say that? There's a lot of monte carlo modeling and other test-tube wizardry in the APA analysis, in my opinion.

And all bets are off when it comes to countermeasures. That's why I've been advocating, for a couple of years now, an ongoing countermeasure challenge series integral to APA events.

About screening tests...  They "work" to the extent that people often make admissions. That's the utility I spoke of. From what I've seen, though, screening tests are much more likely to flag deception than they are to verify truth. In other words, the screening process does not treat deceptive and truthful candidates equally.

So, the price paid in collateral damage is very high indeed, but do screening polygraphs serve the greater good?

Perhaps that all depends on whose ox is being gored.

While the pro/con polygraph arguments rage on, polygraph continues to grow -- not just in the USA but world wide.

There is even a bill currently in congress to relax EPPA.

My mission, at least part of it, is to add a measure of reality to the debate by being a moderate voice.


Dan:  You are correct, there is indeed a bill currently in Congress to gut the EPPA. The sponsor of that bill is Rep. Dennis Ross.  And if you are sincere about adding "a measure of reality to the debate", I suggest you write him a letter and make the same points to him that you have posted here and presented in your campaign for APA president. 

Here is his contact information:

District Office
170 Fitzgerald Rd, Ste 1
Lakeland, FL 33813
T (863) 644-8215
T (813) 752-4790
F (863) 648-0749

Washington, D.C. Office
229 Cannon HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
T (202) 225-1252
F (202) 226-0585
U.S. House of Representatives
« Last Edit: Aug 5th, 2014 at 9:00pm by Doug Williams »  

I have been fighting the thugs and charlatans in the polygraph industry for forty years.  I tell about my crusade against the insidious Orwellian polygraph industry in my book FALSE CONFESSIONS - THE TRUE STORY OF DOUG WILLIAMS' CRUSADE AGAINST THE ORWELLIAN POLYGRAPH INDUSTRY.  Please visit my website POLYGRAPH.COM and follow me on TWITTER @DougWilliams_PG


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Re: APA Election Results Point to Possible Schism
Reply #14 - Aug 6th, 2014 at 11:33am
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What is alarming about this bill is that it carves out an exception to polygraph certain workers who have access to children. While ostensibly, Mr. Ross' motivation appears noble, I think he may be unaware of the stigma a false positive could attach to someone--there are still may of those "where there's smoke, there's fire" types in society. This may result in a jacket that could be impossible to remove. On the flip side, a false negative could instill a false sense of security.
  
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