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.
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.
Here's the verbatim quote from Tolkien in "Return of the King":
"The Stones of Seeing do not lie, and not even the Lord of Barad-Dur can make them do so. He can, maybe, by his will choose what things shall be seen by weaker minds, or cause them to mistake the meaning of what they see."
Palantir, as I understand it, does not gather information. It collates information from other sources, and generates intelligence products tailored to the customer's demands. Palantir can, like Sauron, manipulate what you see, and you will accept what you see as fact.