Skip to comments.How A 'Deviant' Philosopher Built Palantir, A CIA-Funded Data-Mining Juggernaut
Posted on 08/28/2013 3:03:19 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Since rumors began to spread that a startup called Palantir helped to kill Osama bin Laden, Alex Karp hasnt had much time to himself.
On one sun-baked July morning in Silicon Valley Palantirs lean 45-year-old chief executive, with a top-heavy mop of frazzled hair, hikes the grassy hills around Stanford Universitys massive satellite antennae known as the Dish, a favorite meditative pastime. But his solitude is disturbed somewhat by Mike, an ex-Marinesilent, 6 foot 1, 270 pounds of mostly pectoral musclewho trails him everywhere he goes. Even on the suburban streets of Palo Alto, steps from Palantirs headquarters, the bodyguard lingers a few feet behind.
It puts a massive cramp on your life, Karp complains, his expression hidden behind large black sunglasses. Theres nothing worse for reducing your ability to flirt with someone.
Karps 24/7 security detail is meant to protect him from extremists who have sent him death threats and conspiracy theorists who have called Palantir to rant about the Illuminati. Schizophrenics have stalked Karp outside his office for days at a stretch. Its easy to be the focal point of fantasies, he says, if your company is involved in realities like ours.
Palantir lives the realities of its customers: the NSA, the FBI and the CIAan early investor through its In-Q-Tel venture fundalong with an alphabet soup of other U.S. counterterrorism and military agencies. In the last five years Palantir has become the go-to company for mining massive data sets for intelligence and law enforcement applications, with a slick software interface and coders who parachute into clients headquarters to customize its programs. Palantir turns messy swamps of information into intuitively visualized maps, histograms and link charts. Give its so-called forward-deployed engineers a few days to crawl, tag and integrate every scrap of a customers data, and Palantir can
(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...
Shades of Larry Ellison.
Dude, if you don’t want the fringe and weirdos to stalk you, probably shouldn’t name your information gathering company after a magical object from Lord of the Rings that had evil implications.
I’d think the enemies out there would rather kidnap him than otherwise harm him. We would have gotten Osama one way or another though, and I though it was actually more human intelligence that resulted in his discovery. Or maybe the impossible has happened and Hollywood has lied to me.
Yeah, instead of naming it Palantir, they could have named it something that wasn’t Palantir, but sounded silmarillion.
Ah, sure, UNREASONABLE conspiracy theorists torment this saint.
Who named his company —which spies on Americans’ license plates driving around NorCal malls and roads— after a the CRYSTALL BALL OF AN EVIL WORLOCH.
Sounds made up, right?
Started off properly geared at terrorists, and now they’re installing all this Big Bro stuff on cameras all over the place in Northern California, photoing and storing where and where your car is.
You have no idea, and neither do they. Neither do the cops.
It’s not search and seizure —it’s seizure AND THEN search.
You’ll come across their interest, and then they’ll query the imaging of your car plate at some data fusion center, and then they’ll know EVERYWHERE you have been.
Oh SURE he’s a victim.
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They are even contracting privately with companies sort of like Google Maps cars. And these imagine cars go around to malls at peak busy times, and they snap photos of the plates of EVERYONE who parked there.
On the road? Yeah, they snap a photo of the plate of EVERYONE who passes them on the road.
Just like Google “accidentally” did with ALL the routers they passed when they were mapping around cities.
Ah, whoops —sorry about that. Snafu, we PROMISE...!
You’ll speak at a Town Hall, and question authority, and then they’ll query their stupid database about your vehicle plates, and then they’ll know where you live, your church, your town hang-outs, where your lover lives, ah...a trillion things.
They’re putting these cameras on patrol cars, and even those put-put parking ticket scooters, bridges, toll stations, airports.
Northern California is some kind of special test bed for these oh-so-Innocent Orwellians cuz it’s in the backyard of this company’s HQ.
Yeah, they’re going to scream, “You’re a CONSPIRACY THEORIST” at anyone who has ANY reservation about this at all.
Hey, cut him some slack. He wanted to name it Big Brother Technologies, but someone had already used it.
After reading the article i think its safe to surmise that the only way Palantir’s analytical software could predict the type patterns that it did (the software is rumored to have led to OBL’s hidden location or be able to tell if a Nigerian scam is being perpetrated by taking at look at the IP address of the perp and detecting a hijacked line of credit is pretty clear to me. His predictive software must be tied into NSA, credit reporting agencies, and scores of other data information sources for it to work that fast. A further look into this might make Snowden’ revelations a lot mire credible and possibly evn pale in comparison.
The money quote from a former staffer;
“Despite Palantirs lofty principles, says another former engineer, its day-to-day priorities are satisfying its police and intelligence customers: Keeping good relations with law enforcement and keeping the lights on bifurcate from the ideals.
He goes on to argue that even Palantirs founders dont quite understand the Palantiri seeing stones in The Lord of the Rings . Tolkiens orbs, he points out, didnt actually give their holders honest insights. The Palantiri distort the truth, he says. And those who look into them, he adds, only see what they want to see.
Sounds like the web, my cell phone, my TV, and my Nexus 7.
Ever notice just HOW touchy the cops are about being photographed?
There are good reasons for that, sure.
But another reason is because some COPS have special access to knowing just how often innocent people are being digitally imaged unaware: The cops know just HOW powerful that information can be in the right circumstances.
Cameras as becoming sort of like guns. But because the full nature of some of these exotic programs are known only to cops, well, only the cops know HOW afraid we all should be of casual digital imaging.
A casual view of Palantir would be like an early Chinese view of gunpowder as being just one of several needed inputs to make FIRE-CRACKERS, and not an important weapon.
When you see a cop freak out after being photoed then you have your answer for how YOU should feel about Palantir.
Palantir’s tech only really works if it’s everywhere, always.
The company creator was a consummate Hobbit Junky:
Remember the Hobbit movies with that flaming EYEBALL thing that never blinked as it looked for the ring...?
OK well, **THIS PROGRAM** IS THAT EYEBALL.
Remember after 9-11 and people were saying, “If we change the way we live as a result of this attack, then the TERRORISTS WIN..!”
In view of Palantir, etc. etc. you understand now just HOW RIDICULOUS that is, right...?
Programs of this type mean America is DEAD and not merely changed.
Reading the article and listening to the way Karp talks i don’t think he is like most of the looney tune liberals. I think he’s aware of the possibilty that the feds could use the infomation in a maliious and oppressive manner but I get the sense that this would trouble him considerably. I get the idea that he’s thankful he had a business partner that backed him (Thiel; founder of Paypal) to make it happen and that Palatir is his life and obviously making a killing and is floating along for the ride hoping that the feds don’t abuse the system. He sounds like a decent guy but maybe in over his head if the feds start getting a little overambitious with the intel contained within the data.
I agree 100% with your assessment, I got the same impression.
Apparently, he only owns 10% of the company, and I’d suggest that this genie is on auto pilot on its way to some bank.
You can call me crazy, but I can see the day that science will have the ability to literally read your mind.
This will bring a whole new meaning to the “New thought police”.
Governments and Law enforcement are already using all these tracking and data mining techniques to “profile” individuals current and previous actions to establish that individuals “State of Mind”.
Why do you think Obama has tasked the NIH with mapping every single neuron in the human brain and what it does?