I'm not sure if I illegal downloaded or not, or whether I should disclose

I have a polygraph coming up with a three letter agency TS and I’ve been doing the inevitable soul searching of every crime I’ve committed.

Although in the SF86 it did not specifically specify illegal downloading, the follow up phone call with OPM did ask about it and I said no thinking I was fine.

However, I’ve downloaded roughly 10-15 songs/individual movie scene clips from youtube throughout highschool up to a year now through video editing apps, mainly for school assignments that require me to do stuff for media projects.

I’m not sure what I’ve done, is this copyright infringement? piracy? I’ve never distributed, I give credit to the original creators, and I’ve always thought this fell under ‘fair use’ since I was using it for educational purposes (school) and not selling it?

Should I call and update my SF86 with this information, tell the polygrapher before the exam? Or am I overvolunteering unnecessary stuff?

I want to be as candid as possible but I don’t know where the line is between being honest in the security process and shooting yourself in the foot…

What you described is not illegal. It would be unwise to mention it either on your SF86 or to your polygraph operator. To do so would only invite unwelcome and unwarranted suspicion and interrogation.

If the OP is worried about it enough to post here, it seems like it is likely to effect his performance on his poly . . . Isn’t the advice to simply ignore it a little irresponsible?

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No, it’s not irresponsible. For the original poster to retrospectively change his SF86 to add impertinent information, or for him to bring up such impertinent information to his polygraph operator, will not help him obtain a security clearance. But it can hurt his prospects.

You have to understand that polygraph “testing” has absolutely no scientific basis. Outcomes have little to do with whether a person has spoken the truth. As retired CIA polygrapher John F. Sullivan observed in an article published in the Association of Former Intelligence Officers’ newsletter, “…an honest subject has no better chance than a dishonest subject of getting through the process.”

@AntiPolygraph.org, so you’re saying I screwed myself by telling my polygraph examiner there were times I would drive after having a few drinks? (Mostly in the past)

No, I didn’t say that. But you didn’t help yourself by making that admission, either.

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@AntiPolygraph.org, regrettably, there’s NOT much I can do about it now I suppose.

Yep . . . Explain the same things over and over . . . Yet, I asked a question that you avoided answering.

Those working to pass the security process have far less interest in a battle against the polygraph than have in getting a job. If they are worried about issues, the advice to ignore them isn’t going to help their case. You don’t know that what he did is not illegal because he didn’t give enough of a description of what he used and how to know that it fell under “fair use” or any other exception in the copyright laws.

@James1219 . . . A better answer would be that you need to do the research and satisfy yourself that the downloads you used DO meet the “fair use” require or, at least, fall close enough that you are not worried about it and can defend your decision to not report it well enough. The government takes illegal downloading VERY seriously these days and there are always members here talking about having problems. There’s no need to go and change your SF86 and if you satisfy yourself that you broke no laws you should not have a problem in this area of the poly.

@Trey3 . . . We ALL drive after a few drinks, that’s why you didn’t help yourself by bringing it up, you gave them a path to question you about things that may have never come up. This falls under the same advice that I gave above, if this was a concern, you need to figure out if what you regularly do is “drive after a few drinks” or “drive drunk”.


@EdFarmerIII, no, I haven’t driven drunk. But yes, after I have driven after a few drinks.

So, now I’d assume that’s what’s going to be asked in the next poly? And with that said, what more does this open myself up to going forward? Ie, could this keep me from getting cleared.

I didn’t avoid answering your question. On the contrary, I answered it in the first sentence of my reply to you, and then explained my reasons therefor.

So whats the verdict guys?

There is no “verdict” . . . There is no way for us to know what is going to happen. You have advice from several people and YOU need to put together the answer that works for you.

My advice is based on getting you through the poly. That’s it . . . I don’t have any further agenda.

But, what’s YOUR answer? YOU need to research the downloads that you made and find out if a reasonable person would accept them as “fair use”.

I’ll give you an example:
9/28/2018. http://ogc.osd.mil/doha/industrial/2018/17-01467.h1.pdf

Applicant was denied clearance for personal conduct. Applicant filed an appeal through DOHA. In his SOR, they said he was “intentionally falsifying his response to a question in Section 27” (SOR ¶ 1.e) for not saying he illegally downloaded. The security concern was AG ¶ 16 (a), " deliberate omission, concealment, or falsification of relevant facts from any personnel security questionnaire"

Judge stated that “His illegal downloading activities onto his personal
computer does not fall within the scope of this question. As previously mentioned, he
provided the same information about his illegal downloading activities during his 2016
background interview as he did during his latter three polygraphs.”

Judge finally concluded that " I find that AG ¶ 16(a) is not established for SOR ¶ 1.e,
and I find SOR ¶ 1.e in Applicant’s favor. "

So yes. Don’t worry about it, and don’t over volunteer unless they specifically ask you about it,

@EdFarmerIII, I passed the second poly.

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@AntiPolygraph.org, I passed the second poly.

Congratulations! :slight_smile:

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@AntiPolygraph.org… thank you!

i told my polygrapher i illegally downloaded in hs and college when they asked and i told them i didn’t know it was illegal or bad to do. they asked me an estimated amount of songs and if i did it anymore, i gave them an estimate, cause i had no idea. they asked if i distributed or sold or anything like that and i said no. i told the truth. telling the truth is fine. just dont give this info if they dont ask. but they’ll ask. don’t know if you did it already but trust me you’re gonna be FINE. might have to do the poly twice though

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