Google, Amazon, Microsoft are all US gov't contractors. It's hilariously ironic seeing the political views of the employees suddenly clashing with their employers views of making money as if it's a new thing.
My grandfather started a company which was a smaller player in the military contracting space.
It was somewhat large and his argument was that he was always 'helping democracy' but he was willfully blind IMO.
It's always going to be a bit fuzzy but it's another thing entirely when the organization you're selling to is just flat out evil.
Unless you're some dinky, meaningless, retail company, you will do business with the government at some point. That's not a bad thing, it means your company is actually doing something important.
I have a new coworker who wears his Palantir t-shirt and it makes me uncomfortable to even see the name in my office.
The employees objecting to Palantir's work with ICE are probably not objecting to cooperation with border enforcement on the principle that border enforcement is immoral generally, but that recent activities by border enforcement are immoral. If it weren't for the internment camps at the border, we probably wouldn't be hearing about this.
There's a broader discussion about the 4th ammendment and Palantir's effect there, but I don't think that this particular protest is about that.
I did have a recruiter reach out a long time ago and remember they did actually pitch the social good use case of helping law enforcement find and arrest criminals involved in child prostitution rings.
That's sort of the crux of it - ICE wasn't supposed to be bad guys.
In fact, ICE could be heroes - they really could be, when they were breaking up trafficking and rescuing people out of criminal control.
Instead, they are tasked with tearing children away from parents and making orphans by deporting parents away.
I suspect there are people in ICE-HSI, who probably hate being lumped in together with the ICE-ERO.
The point is that the tide of public opinion on ICE would be different if the primary visible effect of them would be pulling women out of shipping containers and sending them to hospitals.
Justice might be blind, but justice without mercy has another name.
This is definitely a real issue:
Maybe I didn’t do as well as I thought I did on the tech, or maybe Palantir recruiting is selecting for people who don’t ask questions.
My money is on the latter.
In "Winners Take All" Anand Giridharadas has a really good sentence where he points out how major employers usually try to find entry level hires who possess an ideal degree of intelligence and impressionability. The latter is just as important for them as the former. They want people they can mold to think and behave according to the values of the company.
In my personal experience, this is also why companies and industries that tend to have a lot of "lifers" are also often fairly toxic places to work. The people who came up and through the norms of the organization don't actually learn how to interact with normal people who don't buy into their idiosyncratic nonsense, don't seem to understand the concept of "standards" or "best practices," and often the idea that people might leave if they don't like how things are being done just doesn't cross their minds. So they take liberties with each other they shouldn't and do a poor job of forming consensus, actually caring about morale, or treating each other with professionalism or respect.
When people do leave, the narrative is usually framed as if they were too weak or soft to handle the rigorous and exacting standards of the company/team/manager rather than thinking that maybe thing are being run badly.
During the interview process I asked a number of questions about ethics and transparency, and the interviewers responded positively and encouraged me to continue asking hard questions, which gave an impression it's a trait they valued.
After joining, I haven't seen any evidence of people fearing to express a dissenting opinion about either technical or ethical subjects. And I've personally witnessed a consistently high level of professionalism and respect, including respect and empathy for the protesters who want Palantir to sever all ties with ICE.
I don't think Palantir continues to work with HSI due to a lack of questioning, on the contrary, I think what's happened is that deeply questioning the ethical and practical implications of continuing or discontinuing contracts with HSI doesn't lead to such a clear-cut, black and white answer about what the right thing to do is.
Each person I talked to acknowledged that the issues I raised were legitimate, and I still received an offer.
20-30 years ago companies like Yahoo and Oracle were innovators. They had robust software engineering and R&D operations that could attract the top talent in the field. Now, not so much...
But it's good to always ask this question of any prospective employer: "who are [y]our customers?"
The customers are the ones who pay the company, and unless you're applying to work for a monopoly, they're the ones who ultimately call the shots.
Hahah, just kidding, Palantir is for chasing down the hoi polloi, not the madams and child abducters who service the country's elite (who after all probably give Palantir a lot of its contracts).
But even though I'm predisposed to view cops favorably, the stuff with ICE is shocking to me. America has a big chunk of history  where ethnic cleansing was common and ignored or even supported by police . It's hard for me not to see ICE's aggressive dehumanization of non-white migrants as a resurgence of that. So I'm not surprised that even at Palantir people are objecting.
 See, e.g., https://www.amazon.com/Sundown-Towns-Hidden-Dimension-Americ...
But is it really fair to call it "Mexican" heroin? Is that a bonafide statement or an assumption? Lethal drugs don't explicitly come from outside the US, and in the presence of stronger border security the supply-demand curve would just re-balance itself with an all domestic supply.
Heroin has always been illegal. Illegally crossing the border has always been illegal. I view the "Mexican" claim as a scapegoat. One could easily make the argument that spending $5b on privatized drug rehab programs (instead of privatized-incarceration) would have the same or greater positive effects on the drug epidemic than a $5b wall. Or $5b in aide to regular police departments along the border (not ICE). Or $5b in aide to Mexican towns right over the border.
There are a million ways to skin a cat. If reducing domestic drug deaths is the goal, demonizing immigration is not the answer. Education and treatment are the answer. Mexicans are just a convenient target.
Not wanting to stamp on any of your other arguments, but the quoted statement ignores historical facts.
Heroin was sold, and actively marketed, as a medication to calm overly active children. Mommy reaching for a bottle of gin to calm her nerves is tame, compared to mommy handing out heroin to the little monster just so the darn creature would give her a bit of rest.
How about simply enforcing the law against coming or staying here illegally while others wait in line?
I was simply pointing out that it is highly unlikely that he actually knows where the drugs came from and therefore it is an unfair assumption to blame Mexico (and Mexicans) for something that could have just as easily come from Spokane Washington.
Using the death of a loved one who killed themselves presumably by accident to pass any kind of law that isn't relevant to the circumstances surrounding the death is disingenuous. It's like if Mothers Against Drunk Driving wanted to close the Canadian border because someone might drink Molson beer and crash their car.
The current administration has decided to build detention centers/concentration camps/etc and keep people there and some of the press is pointing out to be rampant with abuse/inhumane conditions. In many cases children are separated from their parents while being held.
Undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers are fleeing terrible conditions in their home countries and trying to make a better living for their family here.
They're not the same at all as the criminal gangs that smuggle in drugs via a large variety of methods.
Advocate for unlimited visas for anyone who can code. Need to drive down wages for developers.
Plenty of people who are not white people come to the country legally every year.
ICE and CBP have repeatedly violated U.S. law in their treatment of children, including violating the Flores Settlement (which carries the force of U.S. law), violating Constitutional due process and equal protection rights (ruled in Ms. L case), and violated the civil rights guaranteed under U.S. and international law, for example by refusing to provide hygiene materials and medicine.
It is true that plenty of non-white people come legally to the US. But that doesn't mean that there aren't problems with how those people are treated, or that there isn't bias against those people involved.
So they're horrible abusers if they separate children and now that they are trying to rectify that by keeping children together with family by removing the detention limit they too are abusers. What would make you happy then? The only alternative is open borders which is a non starter.
The overwhelming majority of these cases are people coming to the border and requesting asylum. They passed a credible fear interview administered by CBP, and have been granted entry into the US pending their hearing. They have not committed a crime.
Most of the people claiming asylum do not qualify for asylum, but once they are in the country it is hard and costly to find them.
After conducting blood tests, up to 1/3 of migrant children were found to not be related to the adults claiming to be their family. It is for humane anti-trafficking reasons that the separation rule was instituted in the first place.
As long as there is sufficient plausible deniability, people will sign up for anything. In the tech domain, this goes back to at least WW2 with IBM selling punch card machines to Germany.
Because there are reports of ICE doing inhumane things toward the people they have detained.
1) Children are being separated from families.
2) Children are dying under ICE facilities.
3) The jailing of asylum seekers.
These are the few things that lead many people to believe ICE is evil.
Where as the other side seems to be concentrating on the illegal immigrants.
It also come down to the morality of what they're doing and if this is similar to internment camp or concentration camp.
Not really. Here are some things that changed.
This was a quote I thought relevant, however because I don't think it was rainbows and unicorns under Obama either:
"The Obama administration did detain families together — some indefinitely — in hopes of deterring future migrants back in 2014, earning protests and public outrage at the time." 
>By the numbers: Under the Obama administration, total ICE deportations were above 385,000 each year in fiscal years 2009-2011, and hit a high of 409,849 in fiscal 2012. The numbers dropped to below 250,000 in fiscal years 2015 and 2016.
>Under Trump, ICE deportations fell to 226,119 in fiscal 2017, then ticked up to over 250,000 in fiscal 2018 and hit a Trump administration high of 282,242 this fiscal year (as of June).
Edit: I'm not saying I support Trump or ICE, my point is that Obama was hardly a leftist.
This certainly was not true and you have not provided sources saying so.
The rate of deportations wasn't the issue, the incidence and conditions of detention of children was the issue; the incidence of that was not as high, nor the conditions as bad, under Obama. But, even so:
> and hit a Trump administration high of 282,242 this fiscal year (as of June).
The federal fiscal years ends at the end of September, so “as of June” is 8-9 months of the year, depending on whether it's June 1, June 30, or somewhere in between, so it's on pace for 376k-423k, assuming a flat line throughout the year though continuing increase throughout the year might be more consistent with the year over year change. So, Trump started low in fiscal 2017 (which started under Obama and occurred largely while Trump was still getting people in place, with immigration policy focussed on fighting over the Muslim ban), and has rapidly reversed the deportation declines of the last 4 years of the Obama administration in the two years since, coming back up to a pace around or exceeding Obama’s peak year. So even if deportation numbers were the issue, your presentation would be misleading.
Read again. Nobody asked that.
But the Right is the only place that that happens.
> this has been an ongoing problem for a while.
No, the family separation policy has not been going on for a while; the Obama policy was not to detain illegal crossers with children (absent some other reason for detention), specifically to avoid that, and not to force legal asylum-seekers away from standard border crossings to force them to be illegal crossers in the first place.
That's not too say that there weren't humanitarian problems at the border under Obama, but they weren't at the same level as those deliberately created by Trump policies.
Also note that ICE doesn't just enforce immigration laws, they also do things like this: https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/missouri-felon-indicted-se...
Officers executed a search warrant at Lee’s residence and found numerous firearms, ammunition, firearm suppressors, suspected methamphetamine, marijuana, suspected stolen farm equipment, and a large amount of cash. Lee told officers that he received 10 to15 past deliveries of the selector switches, and that he converted and successfully fired a Glock pistol as a fully automatic firearm.
I'd rather take the chance that those several other law enforcement agencies couldn't have worked it out on their own than have thousands of innocent families torn apart and kept in cages.
Conversely, would eliminating HSI prevent such reprehensible treatment of migrant families? Wouldn't the abuses just pop up elsewhere, given the agenda of the current administration?
It sure seems that way. And people often forget that we didn't have these agencies at all before 9/11, and we did just fine. Metal detectors and stronger cockpit doors are well and good, but what we have are agencies that were created in a time of extreme fear, and have held on to fear as their guiding ethos.
> Wouldn't the abuses just pop up elsewhere, given the agenda of the current administration?
Maybe, I don't know. But the problem right now is they have an excuse. We're giving people license to commit whatever thuggish, nationalistic fantasies they want, all sanctioned under some vague "rule of law" argument where the letter has far, far outstripped the spirit. And what we end up with are goon squads harassing and imprisoning innocents based on technicalities. I don't think that sort of thing could persist at this scale without the pretense that these agencies provide.
I'll put it this way: I live in southern Texas. I'm who they're allegedly protecting. And if ICE were abolished overnight, I would throw a party.
ICE wasn't created out of thin air, it was formed by merging and reorganizing existing organizations including Customs and INS.
> We're giving people license to commit whatever thuggish, nationalistic fantasies they want, all sanctioned under some vague "rule of law" argument where the letter has far, far outstripped the spirit.
I agree this is happening and we need to do something to stop it. At the same time, I don't believe this is the only thing that's happening in ICE, as it's a large and complex organization.
> if ICE were abolished overnight, I would throw a party.
If that happened but the fundamental issue of nationalism and lack of concern for human rights was not addressed, I think we could end up in an even worse place than we are currently.
I'm not against abolishing ICE, but I don't think it's a solution in itself. The fundamental issue, in my opinion, is a lack of empathy and understanding for people who seem different, and it's happening on a large scale. I believe that is a much harder issue to tackle compared to restructuring our federal bureaucracy, but that's what we should be focusing on to make a real, lasting impact. Restructuring without addressing the underlying issue seems like a placebo that would do more harm than good.
Sure, the post-9/11 reorganization precedes the current abuses, but I don't see a clear argument that it is somehow fundamental to them. Border Patrol and ICE seem to be the main agencies implementing the problem policies; Border Patrol predates the reports, INS’s enforcement arm would have been in ICE’s role before, but I don't see why that would have made the situation better in an Administration with the same general policy organization.
So one border guard does something, and it's okay to say "they do things like this"?
Isn't that exactly the argument Trump makes about illegal immigrants comitting crimes?
The editorial also neglects to mention that our facilities are greatly over capacity, that this change will make that much much worse, and that thanks to the backlog of immigration cases these families would have to be in these facilities for 5 years or more. To say nothing of the abuses and poor conditions.
And, once again, these families seeking asylum have not committed any crime, they have done nothing illegal.
There are a lot of factors involved in those numbers. For starters, immigration court does not provide public defenders. If you can't afford a lawyer, and can't find a lawyer willing to work pro bono, you have to represent yourself. Yes, even if you are a minor. And having an attorney, according to your article, makes it 5x more likely for your claim to be accepted.
There's also the fact that standards for being granted asylum can be arbitrary and not subject to proper review. Immigration judges work for the DOJ, not the judicial system, and are appointed by the Attorney General. The Attorney General also has fairly broad powers to increase the burden of proof for asylum cases, and limiting the circumstances in which an asylum claim is valid. The AG can also directly override the decisions of judges and deny asylum. For example: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/ag-barr-using-u...
Yes they are, illegally entering the United States is breaking the law.
We could entertain either or both of:
A. Entering the US is not breaking any laws, no matter the manner in which it is accomplished.
B. Applying for asylum grants an amnesty for the laws broken while entering the US.
Granted, there have been a large increase in the number of people who skip their asylum hearings. From 2013 to 2017 this figure was lower, averaging ~44%. More recent samples put this figure in the 70% range and by some estimates even into the 90% range.
We could have ICE deport people who miss their hearings but ICE raids generate even more negative PR than detaining people at the border.
That is not correct. Even sites seeking to argue against the high rates of skipping asylum hearings put their no-show figures at 40-50%: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/06/26/how-many-...
Crossing into the US illegally is by definition illegal. Misdemeanor, to be exact.
There are many issues, yes. Why can't you give the administration credit for fixing one of them? Why point to another problem and say, "but this isn't fixed yet!"
I'm not raising this point to be pedantic or discount the tragedy. I just think it's important to have an accurate understanding of the organizational structure if one wants to make meaningful changes to it.
nope - just WaPo's use of selective editorial bias to paint problems endemic to both parties & us society in general to partisan ends.
And had I known they were doing CBP stuff, I may have been OK with it under Obama even. It wasn't until Trump got elected and immigration policy became explicitly racist and enforcement child-separationy and concentration-campy that I really started opposing it.
HSI special agents investigate violations of more than 400 U.S. laws that threaten the national security of the United States such as counter-proliferation and export violations, human rights violations/war crimes, human smuggling, art theft, human trafficking, drug smuggling and trafficking, arms trafficking, document and benefit fraud, the manufacturing and sale of counterfeit immigration and identity documents, transnational gangs, financial crimes including money laundering and bulk cash smuggling, trade-based money laundering (including trade finance and Kimberley Process investigations), computer crime, including child exploitation, intellectual property rights/trade fraud, import/export enforcement, trafficking of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and other merchandise, mass-marketing fraud, and international Cultural Property and Antiquities crimes.
Just how familiar were you, or are you for that matter, with the full scope of ICE’s activities circa 2015?
No-one described those kids in cages as kids in cages until Trump was elected. From what I could tell, only one local news outlet even ran with that shocking, arresting image of a kid in a cage looking into the camera when it was actually news.
That's silly. It's clear, given the contrast between Obama and Trump on this issue, that the President has substantial leeway on how ICE acts in this regard.
> Laws make it clear that stepping foot on US soil without authorization requires federal detention pending a court date.
This is plainly false. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_detention_in_the_U...
Regarding H-1B's, DHS almost made a decision to make many people on work visas criminals with a catch-22 situation because of the delays in processing H1 extensions. I wish I was making this up.
Rhetoric in many cases informs policy and vice versa. You can't just say they exist in a vacuum when the reason why the visa ban occured was on racial pretenses.
Willful lack of proportion to score political karma points.
Perhaps they signed up naively imagining they were working on a tool that would be used for that and nothing else?
What is your alternative?
The last 15 years of big "tech" have been a giant collective rationalization that building mass surveillance is innocuous.
They think they're singing up to enable palatable use cases of collecting and analyzing that data, and nothing bad will ever happen. Just the same as anyone singing up to work at google/facebook/etc...
What about OSS projects like R and Python that also enable ICE to analyze data to find people.
Is the expectation that Palantir should not sell software to ICE?
OK. Why is that worthy of a boycott? Your democratically elected governments create the laws, and determine the funding for things like beds and toys etc. Boycotts in some cases may make those conditions worse instead of better.
There will always need to be a border force. Wouldn't it be better to focus on improving conditions, increasing funding, and stopping people from crossing the border in the first place?
Under the last administration ICE was only targeting folks who had committed serious crimes, but now they're targeting all undocumented folk. A lot of our economy actually depends on these people, as they tend to be the ones picking vegetables and working in factory farms, preparing livestock for sale - nasty jobs most people don't want. Trump's golf courses and hotels have also knowingly employed undocumented folk, but they don't do much to the people employing undocumented folks (which is actually illegal - being undocumented is not).
Oh, and we're a country of immigrants. (Except the native folk.)
See https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/03/us/politics/fact-check-ic... for a bit more detail.
Most of us probably have no issue with the baker who sold Hitler his daily loaf of bread.
But many of us do have problems with Hugo Boss for designing Nazi uniforms, even though the design work would have been before most of the Nazi war crimes had occurred.
Does not resisting to the fullest of your ability constitute enabling evil?
Would you take Pablo Escobar's donation to build a children's orphanage?
Should gun store owners share the blame when a gun purchased in their business is used in a mass shooting? If you say no, what about if the gun is used in a mass shooting within 30 minutes of the sale and the shooter comes across as under distress, and the gun store owner is worried enough to call in a warning to the authorities.
Why did Bernie Sanders have to return Martin Shkreli's donation? Even if the donation doesn't buy any influence or soft power it allows the "bad" actor to clean their reputation.
From a political perspective there is also the reputation cost to consider. Even if you're morally fine with taking "bad" peoples money, having to answer "why is Shkreli funding you campaign" all the time has a pretty big political cost, even if you have a perfectly legitimate answer.
No, can you explain it? It sounds like a way to justify to yourself that "those people are bad", but you're "just doing your job". Are you principled about who you do business with, or not?
Having said that, some people do think Microsoft should refuse to sell to ICE too.
Palantir does bundle software and services. Their software is so complex, it is typically Palantir employees building the models and analytics.
I became familiar with them through their disease prevention activities trying to evaluate bug transmissions and food borne diseases.
Certainly, you can analyze innocent people, but it’s not like they are a face recognition camera company or something.
I’m not employed by Palantir and not a fan or anything, but am surprised at how mischaracterized they seem to be.
This is like saying Raytheon's core business is antennas. Yes, Palantir does data analysis, specifically for ICE, the military and the police.
I found this article  from 2018 that said half of its $1B in revenue comes from government and the other half from corporate.
So if every penny of government work comes from ICE and ICE-likes maybe that’s core.
It appears they're having an "Are we the Baddies?" moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn1VxaMEjRU
My hot take: I've always interpreted it as "street cred" thing. Getting a job at Google is difficult, for example, and wearing a t-shirt from your Google days could show intellectual pride.
Pride here isn't a good thing.
"The State […] is an anti-social institution, administered in the only way an anti-social institution can be administered, and by the kind of person who, in the nature of things, is best adapted to such service [a psychopath]. Taking the State wherever found, striking into its history at any point, one sees no way to differentiate the activities of its founders, administrators and beneficiaries from those of a professional-criminal class. As Dr. Sigmund Freud has observed, it can not even be said that the State has ever shown any disposition to suppress crime, but only to safeguard its own monopoly of crime." -
Albert J. Nock in “Our Enemy, The State”
In the US, it's popular to think that you can somehow replace elected government (where power is somewhat dependant on votes, and somewhat dependent on advertising budgets/capital) with business (where power is dependent entirely on capital), and that somehow this is more "anarchist". This is a naive idea.
Palantir has a number of commercial customers, here's a few examples: https://www.palantir.com/palantir-foundry/impact/
Where does this money is coming from ? I mean, does the whole question isn't a level "above" : why does such entity exists in a democratic gouvernement ? Isn't it showing a deep loophole in the system ?
Same idea : how is this entity funded ? Isn't it with US-citizens's taxes ? So, aren't all US-citizens involved in this story as well ?
Why would Palantir's employees be more involved than all the persons that allowed the money to be there for Palantir to be funded ?
I'm seeing more Palantir as a consequence of a system's failure than its premice.
Woild love to discuss about that however.
Engineer: sure! Just as long as I'm not enforcing a national border that's where I draw the line!
<Some Company>: hey dude want to work for a company whose job it is to help manipulate and control people by violating their privacy through big data?
Engineer: sure! Just as long as it doesn't violate this very specific aspect of my personal ethics!
That could easily describe Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.
Possibly the Palantir saved middle earth when Aragorn used it to scry events leading up to the final battles.
It's a pretty good shirt, just going by people's reactions to it. I'm just talking about the shirt in isolation though, not in the larger context of what Palantir the company does for their business.
Maybe I'm misreading this. Are you suggesting that what ICE is doing is good?
I will not participate in a discussion with someone who does this. Good day.
False dichotomy, intellectual dishonesty, etc.
How about abolishing inhumane practices, period? How about not trying to placate victims to abuse by saying "oh it's not so bad, at least you have real beds"?
If you're not saying that, then what you wrote is not responsive to the person you replied to.
Sort of, yeah. Check out Akinmade v NIS as an example: https://openjurist.org/196/f3d/951 . Akinmade entered the US with a fake Canadian passport to request asylum. He was granted asylum
> The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) placed him in detention and commenced exclusion proceedings.
Yes, people can apply for asylum after entering the country unlawfully. No, that doesn't mean you get free reign of the country while your case is decided. Nor does your illegal entry bar you from applying or receiving.
It's notable though that the vast majority of asylum seekers illegally entering the US via the southern border are not refugees and do not qualify for asylum. This is easily seen by the fact that they are crossing from their home country into Mexico and not applying for asylum even though Mexico is largely a safe place to live compared to, for example, Honduras.
Of course not, that's where bail hearings come into play. The state can't keep an asylum claimee detained indefinitely without providing due process and evidence this person is a flight risk.
>This is easily seen by the fact that they are crossing from their home country into Mexico and not applying for asylum even though Mexico is largely a safe place to live compared to, for example, Honduras.
Seriously? Mexico is hardly a safe place if you are trying to escape gang violence. Hell, the US currently has multiple travel warnings out against various parts of Mexico. The ACLU is currently filing suit fighting back against exactly this mentality.
You are entitled to ask for a discussion of different policy choices, but the reality is that children were detained in shittier conditions under Obama than they are under Trump.
There's literally only two possible reasons why a person would think that the worse conditions is better. 1- the person preferring the worse conditions is stupid. 2- they want a club to bludgeon Trump with, even if that club is suffering children. Which do you think better describes bovermyer?
My post is neither a false dichotomy nor intellectually dishonest.
Because there are no reasonable standards under which the comparative description in your comment is true.
Those types of articles under the umbrella of "some people on twitter are outraged about something" that give impression of society wide consensus when they are a tiny minority or widespread action are distorting the discourse quite a bit.
Also - they wanted Palantir to donate profits from ICE contracts, but they didn't donate their salaries.
I wouldn't go after Thiel. The guy has a habbit of winning.