Feds’ Pursuit of Polygraph Cheaters Leads to Sharing of Personal Data of Thousands of People

Knowledge is power. Apparently too much power.In September, J.D. Tuccille wrote about a man
landing in prison for teaching people how to
relax and “beat” polygraph tests
. McClatchy had been reporting
on the federal pursuit as the government tests thousands of
thousands of people every year for security clearances.

McClatchy is still on the campaign and now reports on the
inevitable side effect of this pursuit. The feds collected the data
of customers of two men under investigation and
passed that information around to various agencies
redacting any information:

Federal officials gathered the information from the customer
records of two men who were under criminal investigation for
purportedly teaching people how to pass lie detector tests. The
officials then distributed a list of 4,904 people – along with many
of their Social Security numbers, addresses and professions – to
nearly 30 federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service,
the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Food and Drug

Although the polygraph-beating techniques are unproven,
authorities hoped to find government employees or applicants who
might have tried to use them to lie during the tests required for
security clearances. Officials with multiple agencies confirmed
that they’d checked the names in their databases and planned to
retain the list in case any of those named take polygraphs for
federal jobs or criminal investigations.

It turned out, however, that many people on the list worked
outside the federal government and lived across the country. Among
the people whose personal details were collected were nurses,
firefighters, police officers and private attorneys, McClatchy
learned. Also included: a psychologist, a cancer researcher and
employees of Rite Aid, Paramount Pictures, the American Red Cross
and Georgetown University.

Moreover, many of them had only bought books or DVDs from one of
the men being investigated and didn’t receive the one-on-one
training that investigators had suspected. In one case, a
Washington lawyer was listed even though he’d never contacted the
instructors. Dozens of others had wanted to pass a polygraph not
for a job, but for a personal reason: The test was demanded by
spouses who suspected infidelity.

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from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/14/feds-pursuit-of-polygraph-cheaters-leads

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