Summary of Palantir Knows Everything About You

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Facebook isn’t the only company capable of watching every step you take. Bloomberg Businessweek profiles the big-data firm Palantir Technologies, which has evolved from helping the US government catch terrorists to assisting companies monitor their employees and helping law enforcement detect possible offenders. A common thread that runs through both companies is their desperate need to make money and please investors – which, as it turns out, is at odds with protecting people’s privacy. getAbstract believes everyone will want to learn about the growing power that companies like Palantir are exerting over people’s lives.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How government agencies and companies are using Palantir’s data-mining software, and
  • Why civil liberties advocates worry about Palantir’s determination to grow its customer base.  
 

About the Authors

Peter Waldman, Lizette Chapman and Jordan Robertson are reporters for Bloomberg Businessweek.

 

Summary

PayPal co-founder and Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel founded Palantir Technologies in 2004. The company makes software that sifts through large datasets and displays data linkages and connections in spider web–like graphics. Its first customers were the US Pentagon and the CIA, which used the software to enhance battlefield intelligence, identify potential roadside bombs, and hunt down terrorists and insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2009, JPMorgan Chase hired the company to analyze internal data and to highlight irregularities that might indicate illegal activities and abuses of corporate assets. Palantir’s stint at the bank, however, resulted in a large spying scandal: The program’s leader, former US Secret Service agent Peter Cavicchia III, was willfully and indiscriminately monitoring the calls and emails of bank employees and senior executives.


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