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If the data was sourced from public information that the target willingly posted online, does law enforcement even need to use parallel construction? Couldn’t they use the palantir data to obtain a warrant for more thorough searches?

I too have a problem with business models that invade our privacy. But I think it’s a bit disingenuous to conflate “private information” with information that you voluntarily posted on the internet.

Whatever happened to educating people that what they post on the internet is permanent? Dragnets over public data are a symptom of the real problem, which is lack of user education and understanding of what data they generate and share.




I wasn't even thinking about public data. There's a lot of data that law enforcement already collects. What about license plate data, data from IMSI catchers, and leaked data. Add in the publicly available online data and you can supposedly build up quite a profile about them.

What if somebody is arrested and happens to have a very convenient data set on a lot of people, such as data used for marketing purposes. Is it okay if those people are stopped and searched on the basis that somebody else held data about them and the police have supposed that 10% of the clients are suspected of criminality?

Normally there is supposed to be evidence that the crime took place before an investigation can begin.

If law enforcement starts with the evidence and then look for the crime that fits it, that's something different.


You bring up a good point. Palantir is not just mining public data, but also organizing data that law enforcement provides to them (like license plate readings). But if law enforcement already has that data, is the problem that Palantir organizes it, or that law enforcement collects it in the first place?


I think you may have causality reversed. Without Palantir, law enforcement would not only have no use for the data, it probably wouldn't be able to even collect it in a meaningful sense, in terms of technical and financial resources.

Palantir goes to the agency and says, "Give us data and we'll give you "actionable intelligence".

You know, back in the 90s and early 2000s, the term "data mining" was perjorative. Financial operators would look through their mass of data for correlations and sell them to people who would discover that they didn't actually work.


This is not in the least accurate...

1) yes, the LE do already have the data. 2) agencies don't 'give' data to palantir, law enforcement data almost always lives in air-gapped environments it cannot leave in any way (or only in highly restricted ways) 3) we don't 'give' actionable intelligence, we just provide tools for analysts to generate such data. Palantir is a company of software engineers, not of intelligence analysts.


you seem to be quite defensive of your choice to work for a company that builds spy software and sells it to anyone with the money to buy it. are you trying to convince us your employer is good, or yourself? its most certainly an ethical grey area, but you try hard to make it seem benignly white. these engineers know what the software is being used for, they can act innocent all they want, but what happens when this tool is used for bad? can you guarantee that it wont be? seems like your teams are turning a blind eye in exchange for large paychecks and doing some fine mental gymnastics to justify it all.


I would argue that law enforcement would have no use for collecting such vast amounts of data without a service like Palantir. So the blame rests on both Palantir and law enforcement


No, not really. We don’t expect all of our actions to be monitored and collected 24/7 throughout the course of our lives when going about our business offline and then used to entrap us. We should have a similar standard when it comes to our civil rights in the digital realm.


As an aside, education does not scale with the ever increasing number of ways that personal information can “get online”. Additionally, it assumes some degree of privilege as more and more of everyday life moves online. Not everyone can afford to care for their own privacy, and those that do must pay the time, money, and convenience costs associated with it.




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