Palantir & JP Morgan:
Palantir & Policing:
Palantir & Healthcare Data:
German Data Concerns:
Palantir Protection Of The West:
Palantir Technologies within recent times has undergone a range of ungrounded & uninformed criticisms from media platforms and independent figure heads. However, all of these criticisms of Palantir are grounded within illogical reasoning, and mainly a vital misunderstanding of the product.
Here is a recap of all of the major criticisms Palantir have undergone within recent times, and factual counter arguments to dispute the illogical claims.
Palantir & JP Morgan:
The British OpenDemocracy group said that, everyone should be worried about Palantir.
“At the bank JP Morgan, an investigations team worked with Palantir to find internal malpractice. Palantir’s tools inspired the team to collect as much data as possible on staff. A staffer wielding those tools lamented that: “The world changed when it became clear everyone could be targeted using Palantir… everyone’s a suspect, so we monitored everything. It was a pretty terrible feeling.”
Furthermore, OpenDemocracy said that Palantir is too powerful:
“While we have been assured that all the data being fed into the datastore is anonymised, even supposedly anonymised data can become linked amongst wider data pools. This is part of what makes Palantir’s products powerful.”
In reality, this stems from a major misunderstanding of the Palantir platform. Palantir is not a data broker, or a company whom owns data. In fact, Palantir is actually a software company whom provide software to organisations in an attempt to become the central operating system for the organisation.
The notion that Palantir is a spy company, and monitors employees within a company is utterly untrue.
In fact, Palantir actually have explicitly spoken out about companies such as Google whom use data without the users consent to generate profit.
The CEO of Palantir recently indicated how, Palantir were the first to speak out about a Muslim database in America. In addition, Alex said how at Palantir since inception, “we did not support the parasitic nature of the Valley”.
When looking at a case study of data for good, Palantir have revealed that their products can protect civil liberties, whilst also tracking down criminals simultaneously.
A major US Federal Agency was tasked with administering economic support schemes similar to those in the UK. The agency had to administer upwards of $1 trillion in aid to applicants in just a few weeks.
The agency used Foundry to prevent criminals from committing serious fraud, without compromising the speed at which the agency executed the economic support scheme. Within a few weeks the agency:
- Integrated more than 50 data sources
- Linked billions of records of new information
- Made this vital information available to thousands of law enforcement agents on one easy-to-use interface
Palantir prevented $22B in fraud from occurring via the use of software integration.
In fact, one of Palantir’s main goals is to ensure that the company can eliminate the perceived trade-offs between privacy and utility. “To do so, we treat privacy as a first-order concern at every stage of the engineering process and build privacy features as core capabilities in our platforms, seamlessly integrated with analytical and collaboration tools.”
Palantir & Policing:
Furthermore, OpenDemocracy stated that “Palantir’s software has been used by multiple US police departments. It works by collecting and linking millions of digital records to create a searchable database. That data is then run through an algorithm that can flag possible criminal suspects or identify crime hotspots.”
To add, according to the British independent group, they mentioned how Palantir has been linked to racist police activities. “Such a system risks creating a feedback loop: people in over-policed neighbourhoods are “more likely to be stopped, thus increasing their point value, justifying their increased surveillance, and making it more likely that they will be stopped again in the future”, said Sarah Brayne, the author of ‘Predict and Surveil: Data, Discretion, and the Future of Policing’, in The Intercept.”
“Feedback loops like those discovered by researchers in Palantir’s US policing software could lead to pre-existing inequalities being reinforced in health systems. For example, Black people are more than four times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act in the UK and more than ten times more likely to be subject to a community treatment order,” said OpenDemocracy.
Unfortunately, these claims by OpenDemocracy are rooted in ideological agendas, instead of a factual basis of the Palantir solution.
Palantir since inception was created to ensure that there was not a trade off between data empowerment and also civil liberties being exploited. Unlike many Silicon Valley companies, Palantir wants to ensure that this trade of does not occur, which reveals the ethical standpoint of the company.
Peter Thiel has also referred to Palantir, more or less, as “created to prevent another 9/11 and find Osama bin Laden.”
There is strong thesis that Palantir was involved within allowing the CIA to hunt terrorists and eventually track Bin Laden. This indicates their unique business narrative which is centred around protection of the West, in comparison to a parasitic nature as seen often within Silicon Valley.
Palantir & Healthcare Data:
OpenDemocracy reported that, “experts have warned that contracts with the secretive company could involve an “unprecedented” transfer of patients’ sensitive health information.”
Palantir has been awarded more than £46m in public contracts by the UK government and NHS since the start of 2020.
However, the truth is Palantir builds digital infrastructure for data-driven operations and decision making. The Palantir product suite serve as the connective tissue between an organisation’s data, its analytics capabilities, and operational execution. Palantir’s platforms tie these together by bringing the right data to the people who need it, allowing them to take data-driven decisions, conduct sophisticated analytics, and refine operations through feedback.
Palantir software is licensed to organisations, who receive secure and unique instances of the Palantir platforms in which is used to conduct their own work on their own data.
This infrastructure from Palantir helps organisations bring the right data together at the right time to answer complex questions and make intelligent decisions. This is particularly valuable when existing systems are fragmented, and essential information is held in silos that can’t communicate with each other.
Whilst OpenDemocracy have mentioned numerous times that Palantir was wrongly used within the NHS, in reality Palantir’s software solutions have led towards major productivity improvements & efficiencies being created across the whole British healthcare system.
A case study of Chelsea and Westminster outlined in the plan, says Palantir’s software has enabled a 28% reduction in the inpatient waiting list through validation and better clinical oversight.
It adds that booking lead times have tripled from six to 17+ days on average, meaning patients can be notified about surgery in a timelier manner and reducing the number of cancellations due to lack of staff or patient availability. Also, theatre utilisation has improved from 73% to 86%, over a three-month period.
The solution aims to help prioritise patients with the highest clinical risk who have been waiting the longest.
Louis Mosley, head of Palantir UK, said: “We are proud to be able to support NHS England and the wider elective recovery plan. Palantir’s software helped to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine programme and is now assisting NHS staff in reducing the backlog and delivering the highest standards of patient care.
“Our software is trusted by some of the most important public and private sector institutions around the world, in part because of its advanced data protection tools.
Unlike many tech companies, the Palantir business model is not based on the monetisation of personal data. Palantir does not collect, store, or sell personal data. Palantir does not use personal data to train proprietary AI or machine learning models to share or resell to other customers.
Moreover, Palantir never facilitates the movement of data between clients, except where those specific clients have entered into an agreement with each other.
German Data Concerns:
As reported by various policing leaders, officials should be able to use the Palantir software to query not only police databases but also other official databases, such as the weapons register, resident registration data or the central register of foreigners.
Furthermore, passenger data or investigation reports from Internet also can be integrated within the Palantir solution.
Nevertheless, Jürgen Bering fears that the new linking of data could violate fundamental rights. The software connects “not just one or two small data sets, but thousands”.
Some officials argue that “citizen can be viewed at the push of a button”.
Jurisdiction says that such software can be used in special cases, for example to avert special dangers. “It must not be that this system becomes the standard and police and security authorities simply so access it,” says Bering.
The Bavarian state data protection officer, Thomas Petri, also sees legal problems: “I consider the use of a research and analysis tool like Palantir to be a significant encroachment on fundamental rights. Palantir enables cross-database research and analysis, he stated.
This goes far beyond the usual use of the Bavarian police databases.” Petri calls for a legal regulation “which clearly defines when Palantir may be used and when not”.
On request, the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior stated that “the need for a sector-specific legal basis is still being examined.”
“Palantir has often been described as a secretive company. There is some truth to this. For many years, we primarily served institutions with exceptional confidentiality expectations in fields like defence and intelligence. Palantir had little choice but to remain silent about our work, even when misunderstandings about the nature of the business appeared in the media or in the public sphere.”
Palantir built privacy controls into the platform form the start. The company stated how, “we embrace the complexity of working in the real world.”
“Where other companies can’t or won’t go, we step in to make sure that critical institutions can do their jobs. We offer software to help a maintenance engineer decide what maintenance fix to deploy, to help a researcher interpret the results of a clinical trial, and to help a soldier decide when to hold fire and when to shoot.”
“At the same time, we treat the protection of rights to privacy and civil liberties as essential requirements for our software. From the start, we built key capabilities for data protection and governance into our platforms. Every capability we ship supports end-to-end data legibility, audit logs, granular access controls, data quality checks, and purpose specification requirements that can be adapted to any environment.”
Palantir Protection Of The West:
Palantir, co-founded by Peter Thiel, will “continue to use its technology to support Ukraine.”
Wendy R. Anderson said:
One of the many reasons I am so proud to work for Palantir Technologies. Alex Karp, my boss and our CEO, is the first CEO to visit #Kyiv after the start of the full-scale war. We’ve agreed to continue investing in #Ukraine by supporting the Army and opening an office, etc. This is what leadership looks like, full stop.
This comes after CEO Alex Karp attended a meeting in Ukraine with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Palantir does not engage with businesses who are located in Russia, or China. In fact, Palantir solely aims to conduct business with those companies and governments who are allies of the US.
“We do not work with the Chinese communist party and have chosen not to host our platforms in China, which may limit our growth prospects.
Our leadership believes that working with the Chinese communist party is inconsistent with our culture and mission.
We do not consider any sales opportunities with the Chinese communist party, do not host our platforms in China, and impose limitations on access to our platforms in China in order to protect our intellectual property, to promote respect for and defend privacy and civil liberties protections, and to promote data security.
Our decision to avoid this large potential market may limit our growth prospects and could adversely impact our business, results of operations, and financial condition, and we may not compete successfully against our current or potential competitors who choose to work in China.”