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> Palantir is a big data/spying company, what do you expect from them?

How can expect anything of them when I don't even know that company exists, let alone what it does?

> Why are people surprised that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy, did political research and affected a voter outreach strategy? None of this requires any real background knowledge, and yet the outcry seems extremely disproportionate to the revelations at hand. It seems like the Snowden reports all over again, where the world was up in arms that an intelligence agency was collecting intelligence.

This is simplifying the discussion a lot. The general assumption about both intelligence and research was probably that they stick to rules and are concerned with their own fields.

I'd guess the average joe would (before snowden at least) think that an intelligence agency is concerned with foreign diplomats and military strategists and a political consultancy does opinion polls.

It's something different if said agencies collect intimate data of random citizens without their consent. At least in public mind, that was something the stasi or similar organisations did - but certainly not their own side.

you raise a good point - with the intelligence agencies, I can believe that plenty of people think (or used to think, before Snowden) they are focused on specific valuable targets such as diplomats given that's how they supposedly used to operate before asymmetric warfare, terrorism and sole attackers became the median threat.

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