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

The Trump-funding, democracy-denying, Gawker-destroying Peter Thiel is finally no longer involved with Y Combinator

Peter Thiel was always a controversial figure in tech, known as an acerbic doctrinaire libertarian who'd publicly declared that "I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible," a situation he blamed in part on "the extension of the franchise to women," -- but people still took his money and sought his help in part because he was viewed as a mostly harmless crank and in part because he had a titanic amount of money and connections to throw at organizations that legitimized him by affiliating themselves with him. Read the rest

A startup wants to buy your grievance against Equifax for 30% of your court award

Legalist is a Peter Thiel-funded startup whose business-model is to buy legal grievances in exchange for a license to sue on behalf of its users, a practice called champerty that was most notoriously used by Thiel himself when he backed the lawsuits that brought down Gawker Media in an act of petty vengeance. Read the rest

Judge tosses out Hulk Hogan lawyer's suit against Techdirt over that guy who claimed he invented email

Earlier this year Techdirt was sued for $15M by Shiva Ayyadurai, who claims to have invented email in 1978, eight years after Ray Tomlinson sent an email over ARPANET. Ayyadurai was represented by Charles Harder, the lawyer who was paid by Peter Thiel to kill Gawker Media through Hulk Hogan's lawsuit. Read the rest

Oculus Founder/alt-right troll Palmer Luckey teaming up with Peter Thiel to build surveillance tech

Palmer Luckey, the guy who founded Oculus, sold it to Facebook, and then used the money to fund racist, far-right meme creation in the 2016 election cycle is now running a Peter-Thiel-backed startup to build surveillance technology that could be part of Donald Trump's border wall. Read the rest

Techdirt is being sued by the "I invented email" guy and needs your money

Indie news outlet Techdirt is being sued for $15M by Shiva Ayyadurai, who claims to have invented email in 1978, eight years after Ray Tomlinson sent an email over ARPANET; Ayyadurai is represented by Charles Harder, a key figure in the Gawker-killing legal campaign that Peter Thiel financed, and who is also representing Melania Trump in her $150m lawsuit against The Daily Mail. Read the rest

Techdirt's "I Invented Email" gear

Techdirt, a fearless source of excellent technology news and commentary, is being sued for $15M by Shiva Ayyadurai, who claims to have invented email -- he is represented by Charles Harder, a key figure in the Gawker-killing legal campaign that Peter Thiel financed, and who is also representing Melania Trump in her $150m lawsuit against The Daily Mail. Read the rest

Melania Trump suit from 'Gawker-killer' lawyer claims harm to 'once-in-a-lifetime opportunity' to make millions

A lawyer for Melania Trump argued in a lawsuit filed today that a since-retracted Daily Mail article claiming she once worked as an escort harmed her odds of establishing “multimillion dollar business relationships” during the years in which she would be “one of the most photographed women in the world.” In a sense, the lawsuit is all about a purported right to cash in on being the First Lady. Because that's what being the First Lady is all about. Read the rest

Gawker settles with Hulk Hogan in Peter Thiel-backed lawsuit: After 4-year fight, “The saga is over.”

The deal is done. Gawker Media today settled its case with former wrestling star Hulk Hogan, which brought Nick Denton's blogging empire to bankruptcy, ending the company's long reign as an independent news organization. Read the rest

Really not sure about this livestream from Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel's livestreaming a press event: the PayPal billionaire is explaining why he's supporting Trump, how he's going to speak truth to power, why his comments about women aren't "big" issues, and so on. This is just a taster of what's coming in the new year, obviously.

Can't say it was what I expected but still looking forward to what Disney does with Episode VC! Read the rest

VERIFIED Mark Zuckerberg defends Facebook's association with Peter Thiel

Update: According to The Verge, Facebook has verified the authenticity of the screenshot below.

In what appears to be an internal Facebook post, Zuckerberg defends his company's ongoing association with Peter Thiel -- Facebook investor/board member and major donor to white-supremacist/pro-rape presidential candidate Donald Trump. Read the rest

Muckrock and Motherboard launch $2,000 Thiel Fellowship to FOIA the crap out of Peter Thiel

Muckrock today announced a $1,000 grant for projects to increase public understanding of noted Donald Trump supporter and anti-Gawker-lawsuit-funder Peter Thiel. Motherboard matched the Muckrock reporting grant funds, and now the grant is $2,000.

Apply to MuckRock’s Thiel Fellowship here.

“Applications are on a rolling basis with the first deadline of October 1, 2016. Applicants should email the following to info@muckrock.com with the subject line'MuckRock Thiel Fellowship,'” says the announcement.

From Muckrock's Michael Morisy:

Peter Thiel - co-founder of both PayPal and Palantir and an early Facebook investor - has profoundly reshaped industry after industry and, ultimately, remade the world to fit his radical vision of the future. Unfortunately, despite his impact in industries ranging from digital payments and mass government surveillance to radical life extension and seasteading, the media has done relatively little reporting on the details of his companies, often leaving the public in the dark on his contributions to society.

But maybe you can change that.

With MuckRock’s Thiel Fellowship, we want to help journalists and researchers better understand this pivotal figure’s work and share what they learn with the world.

MuckRock is offering a grant of 250 requests (a $1,000 value), plus our invaluable FOIA expertise, to between one and three inaugural Thiel Fellows who propose projects that help the public better understand organizations or areas of research and public policy connected with Thiel. Even better, Motherboard has agreed to double that, providing an additional $1,000 to fund FOIA request fees, research, potential stipends, or other related costs of the fellowship.

Read the rest

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