palantir

Top tech grads are increasingly unwilling to work for Big Tech, viewing it as a new, unethical Wall Street

About five years ago, I was trying to get a bunch of Big Tech companies to take the right side of an urgent online civil rights fight, and I called an old friend who was very senior at one of the biggest tech companies in the world; they told me that it wasn't going to work, in part because the kinds of people who were coming to tech were there because they wanted to get as rich as possible, no matter what they had to do. My friend contrasted this with earlier eras -- even the dotcom bubble -- when the financial motive was blended with a genuine excitement for the transformative potential of tech to make a fairer, more equitable world. Now, my friend said, the kind of kid who would have gotten an MBA was instead getting an electrical engineering or computer science degree -- not out of any innate love for the subject, but because that was a path to untold riches. Read the rest

Peter Thiel claims AI is "Leninist" and "literally communist" in a sprawling speech for a think tank

On November 13, noted vampire capitalist Peter Thiel gave a speech to donors at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research conservative think-tank on "The End of the Computer Age." Over the course of 40 minutes, he covered a lot of topics—some of which were at least provocative, some of them which sounded like they were ripped straight out of a Gavin Belson speech on Silicon Valley.

There was a, um, interesting reflection on the shortcomings of Margaret Thatcher's regime:

I sort of think of Margaret Thatcher's biggest mistake was she thought that in the late '70s that embracing the EU would be a way to crush the unions in the UK.

An interesting (accidental?) critique of the Electoral College system:

In a democracy if you have sort of majority vote, that's good. If you have a supermajority, that's even better. So if you got 51%, you're probably right. If you get 70%, you're even more right. On the other hand, if you get 99.99% of the voters, you're sort of in North Korea. [laughter]

The "greatest lie" Obama ever told (which is, he notes, not about Iraq or healthcare):

"Just because it's not some name-brand, famous, fancy school, doesn't mean that you're not going to get a great education there." So let's parse that two lies. First off, if it isn't a name-brand, famous, fancy school, you're not going to get a great education. You're just going to get a diploma that's a dunce hat in disguise. If it is a name-brand, famous, fancy school, you probably also won't get an education.

Read the rest

What's cooler than being cool? Hundreds of musicians protesting ICE and Amazon

Stop, collaborate, and listen: Amazon's complicit in ICE's extraditions (plus other abuses of human rights enabled by that agency's authoritarian agenda)

That's why hundreds of musicians—nearly 500, at the time of this writing, though it was just over 100 when news broke Thursday morning—have signed onto an open letter pledging to boycott Amazon festivals, events, and other exclusive deals until the tech giant stops enabling the systematic abuses of Immigration Customs Enforcement. The list of signatories includes Guy Picciotto of Fugazi, as well as Ted Leo, Immortal Technique, Downtown Boys, Thursday, WHY?, Jeff Rosenstock, the Mowglis, War on Women, Diet Cig, Tim Kasher (of Cursive/The Good Life), and many more.

These are the demands for Amazon, directly from that open letter:

Terminate existing contracts with military, law enforcement, and government agencies (ICE, CBP, ORR) that commit human rights abuses

Stop providing Cloud services & tools to organizations (such as Palantir) that power the US government's deportation machine

End projects that encourage racial profiling and discrimination, such as Amazon's facial recognition product

Reject future engagements w/ aforementioned bad actors.

I signed my own band onto the list earlier this week, after catching wind of the movement on Twitter. (I tried to pull our songs from all Amazon-affiliated services, but our distro service makes that difficult to do.) My friends in the Kominas mentioned something about it, and then I noticed Deerhoof interacting with Sadie Dupois of Speedy Ortiz and Sad13, following up on the recent op-ed by Tom Morello and Evan Greer of Fight For The Future (both musicians and activists in their own rights). Read the rest

#NoTechForICE: Calling on ACM to cancel Palantir's sponsorship of the first ACM Symposium on Computer Science and Law

Next week, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) will host its inaugural Symposium on Computer Science and Law, whose sponsors include Palantir, Peter Thiel's notorious surveillance-tech company, which just renewed a $49m contract with ICE to provide technological aid for ICE's ethnic cleansing program, which has included mass family separations and the deaths of children in custody. Read the rest

A list of companies that contract with ICE

Last week, free software developer Seth Vargo pulled the plug on tools he made to work with software developed by his former employer Chef, in protest of Chef's ongoing contracts with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a federal agency that has been implicated in crimes against humanity, including ethnic cleansing, family separation, and the deaths of children in its custody. Read the rest

Peter Thiel 'most scared' of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, accuses Google of treason. Trump agrees.

In a Fox & Friends newsbrief, Thiel spurred President Trump to promise to look into baseless claim that Google committed treason.

Leaked Palantir 'Gotham' user manual shows how fast police and government can grab your info

“The Palantir user guide shows that police can start with almost no information about a person of interest and instantly know extremely intimate details about their lives.”

Mysterious New Orleans "anti-crime" camera emblazoned with NOPD logos outside surveillance contractor's house is disavowed by NOPD

New Orleans is festooned with police cameras, the legacy of a secret partnership with the surveillance contractor Palantir, which used New Orleans as a covert laboratory for predictive policing products. Read the rest

Beatings—er, bonuses will continue at Palantir until morale improves

Morale is so bad at Palantir, they're slashing their stock price. In addition to cheaper stock options, the data-mining company is also handing out more internal bonuses, after a succession of shareholder writedowns and political controversies tied to company co-founder and Gawker sue-er Peter Thiel. Read the rest

Silicon Valley real estate asking prices fall 12% from peak

There are more houses for sale in San Mateo County, Santa Clara County and San Francisco County than at any time since 2013; inventory in December was up 113% year-on-year, and asking prices have fallen by 12% since their peak. Read the rest

Is this the full list of US cities that have bought or considered Predpol's predictive policing services?

Predpol (previously) is a "predictive policing" company that sells police forces predictive analytics tools that take in police data about crimes and arrests and spits out guesses about where the police should go to find future crimes. Read the rest

How Amazon‬⁩, Microsoft‬⁩, ⁦Palantir‬⁩, & other Big Tech profit from ICE and help Trump abuse migrants

In their 'No Tech For ICE' report, Mijente details how firms like Amazon‬⁩, ⁦‪Microsoft‬⁩, and ⁦‪Palantir‬⁩ plan to profit from the detention and deportations of migrants. Read the rest

Palantir may IPO at valuation of up to $41 billion

The highly secretive Silicon Valley-based data company Palantir is reported to be considering an initial public offering. Read the rest

Mobile speed displays are filming plates and faces

Justin Rohrlich warns that those mobile trailer-mounted signs displaying your MPH are also recording number plates and taking photos of the driver and passengers. The cameras are being retrofitted to existing models. Read the rest

Trump officials say they have database to reunite separated immigrant families, won't talk about it

Who is building and managing the database ICE and HHS are using to track all those thousands of immigrants caught at the U.S./Mexico border in Trump's 'zero tolerance' racist crackdown? And did they bother to create a system that tracks the separated children and parents, so they can be reunited? Read the rest

Palantir has figured out how to make money by using algorithms to ascribe guilt to people, now they're looking for new customers

In 2009, JP Morgan Chase's "special ops" guy was an ex-Secret Service agent called Peter Cavicchia III, and he retained Palantir to spy on everyone in the company to find "insider threats"; even getting the bank to invest in Palantir. Read the rest

The idea behind Cambridge Analytica's Facebook data-harvesting app came from a Palantir employee, with support from Eric Schmidt's daughter

Palantir is the surveillance company founded by authoritarian "libertarian" Peter Thiel; their business-development employee Alfredas Chmieliauskas was part of a cohort of Palantir employees who worked closely -- if informally -- with Cambridge Analytica as they hatched their plan to harvest 50,000,000 Facebook profiles with a deceptive "personality quiz" app. Read the rest

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