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.

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#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

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

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

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

ICE uses Facebook's backend to hunt their prey, with help from Palantir

Public records requests have shown that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- who have continued and intensified Obama's program of mass deportations and separation of families under Trump -- uses Facebook's logs, merged with logs from cellular carriers and analyzed by software from Palantir (Peter Thiel's police-state arms-dealer) to track immigrants people they're investigating. Read the rest

New Orleans Police used predictive policing without telling the city's elected officials

Palantir Technologies is a data-mining firm that loves it some predictive policing: computer-aided sorcery that uses data models to try and predict where crimes may occur and who's got a reasonable chance of committing them.

For predictive policing to work well, the predictive model being built needs to be well fed with data on criminals, their first, second and third-person acquaintances, their social media accounts, and crime statistics for the area where the model is meant to be seeing crimes before they may possibly happen. It sounds like shit right out of Minority Report, because it kinda is – just without spooky kids in a swimming pool and a hell of a lot less accuracy.

Accurate or not, the notion of predictive policing raises a number of civil rights and privacy concerns. The ACLU isn't down with it, as the methodology of stopping someone without reasonable suspicion is against the Fourth Amendment. In their eyes, computer-aided guesses don't cut it when it comes to justifying a stop-and-frisk. China's been using it to snoop on their citizens and has been sending suspected radicals and political dissidents for re-education, just in case they decided to protest their nation's ruling party's status quo. It's creepy shit.

Anyway, back to Palantir.

Did I mention that it was started up by Peter Thiel with money seeded by the CIA? No? How about the fact that they've been running an off-the-books program with the New Orleans Police so secretive that the city's own government didn't have a clue that it was going on? Read the rest

Before standing for the Democratic nomination in a NY congressional race, Patrick Ryan was in business spying on union organizers and left-wing activists

Patrick Ryan wants to be the Democratic nominee for New York's 19th district in the Hudson Valley, a Republican seat that Dems hope to flip; he's gone on record stating that he can do the job because of his entrepreneurial success -- but he didn't mention that he built his career at Berico Technologies by pitching a product to help businesses spy on union organizers and left-wing activists, a plan that included spying on left-wing Democrats and planting fake documents in order to discredit labor unions. Read the rest