Peter Thiel's Palantir gets $500 million from Japan, just before expected IPO

Peter Thiel's Palantir on Thursday said a Japanese insurance holding company, Sompo Holdings, has committed to invest $500 million in the Silicon Valley data analysis and surveillance technology firm that serves the U.S. government and the Central Intelligence Agency, among other clients worldwide. Read the rest

Peter Thiel's Palantir to IPO within weeks, start trading before election

Bloomberg News reports on Friday that the secretive big-data and surveillance technology firm Palantir is preparing to register an S-1 filing confidentially, and plans to go public in the coming weeks and start trading as early as fall 2020. 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

Elizabeth Warren calls Zuck and Thiel's secret Trump White House dinner "corrupt"

After news broke that Peter Thiel and Mark Zuckerberg had consumed a secret White House dinner with Donald Trump, Elizabeth Warren characterised it as part of Facebook's "charm offensive with Republican lawmakers" in response to her call to use antitrust law to break up Facebook, calling the move "corruption, plain and simple...how the government keeps working for giant corporations and the wealthy and well-connected." Read the rest

Donald Trump had undisclosed dinner with Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel at White House, Facebook confirms

Facebook today confirmed what has long been rumored: Donald Trump hosted a dinner which was not disclosed to the public in October 2019 with Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel, at the White House. Read the rest

FBI investigating VC fund started by Peter Thiel for financial misconduct: Report

FBI and other federal agencies probe venture capital fund started by Peter Thiel

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.

Palmer Luckey wins secretive Pentagon contract to develop AI for drones

Palmer Luckey (previously) the alt-right financier who was made a billionaire by Mark Zuckerberg's decision to acquire his VR startup Oculus, is now running a Peter-Thiel-backed surveillance startup called Anduril Industries, which has won a contract to contribute to Project Maven, the Pentagon's controversial AI-for-drones system (Google's involvement in Project Maven sparked an employee uprising that ended with the relevant executives leaving the company and the contract being allowed to lapse). 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

New Zealand bans most offshore residential real-estate ownership

With today's passage of the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill, the Parliament of New Zealand has banned nonresidents from buying most residential property in the country, in an effort to end the skyrocketing housing expenses (Auckland is one of the world's least-affordable cities) by freezing out overseas speculators, though these account for less than 3% of total real-estate transactions, with the majority coming from China. 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

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

The mystery man behind the destruction of Gawker

Aron D’Souza is the man behind Peter Thiel's successful campaign to destroy Gawker through litigation, according to an exposé by Buzzfeed News. The whole thing seems to dance pretty close to the line for what constitutes maintenance. Read the rest

Peter Thiel, "libertarian," wants to buy Gawker's archive, which would give him the power to censor stories he didn't like

Libertarian wisdom holds that "the answer to bad speech is more speech," but if you're a Peter Thiel libertarian (that is, the kind of "freedom lover" who doesn't think women should vote, wants to spy on everyone in the world, and secretly wields power to censor the free press), then "the answer to bad speech is secretly backing lawsuits by washed-up pro-wrestlers in order to kill a media outlet whose reporting you don't like." Read the rest

Peter Thiel: the "libertarian" who loves mass government surveillance, monopolies, and censorship

Peter Thiel thinks that it was a mistake to let women vote; that democracy is incompatible with "freedom" (because poor people will tax rich people if they get to elect their own leaders); that the major problem with the mass government surveillance that Edward Snowden revealed was that it was incompetently conducted (which is why he started Palantir, a mass surveillance contractor that sells spying services to authoritarian states); that free markets are inefficient and should be replaced with monopolies; and that marketplace of ideas should be replaced by secretly funded litigation campaigns that eliminate publications that say things you don't like. Read the rest

Gawker alumni are crowdfunding to outbid Peter Thiel for control of Gawker's assets

Gawker was bankrupted by Peter Thiel, who secretly backed Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against the network of news, entertainment and gossip sites in an act of petty revenge. Read the rest

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