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Palantir forced out of job fair after outcry over ICE contracts (theverge.com)
113 points by ingenieros 49 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 169 comments



Let's be honest. Palantir's business model is mass surveillance of people (including, especially, US citizens). They allow many government agencies to circumvent the legal procedures required to access government databases by instead using theirs.

If you support that, more power to you. Be honest about what you're supporting though. This is not just about ICE. This is not the same as the advertiser tracking.


Palantir is much closer to a consulting agency (think SAP or IBM) than anything like that.


If a company is building the tools for a surveillance agency (which we know they are), you can't simply wave around the world "consulting" because they are not the end user of said tools to erase all responsibility.

If a gun manufacturer sells weapons to a dictatorship, even if there is no embargo and the deal is legal, you can absolutely judge the scummy ethics of the company in question.


That's a very kind way to characterize their work. Regardless, they are in the mass surveillance business. Some of their product manuals are out there to read.

Edit: I personally think calling them just a 'consulting' company is a silly way to obscure the things on which they consult.


They're in the data analysis business. Your government is in the mass surveillance business. If ICE fed the data into Tableau instead would that be any different?


This is not an accurate comparison you're making and I think you know that. Palantir designs products specifically for mass tracking of people. Tableau does not.


Could you specify the things Palantir does that Tableu and other data analysis tools do not?


Really? Like specifically marketing and providing mass surveillance solutions to governments? That's a pretty major thing that Palantir does that other data analysis tools do not. Sure, if you want to keep being pedantic and trying to play off what Palantir does you can say they're "just" a consulting company, or "just" a data analytics company, but it's incredibly apparent that they primarily assist governments and organizations with mass surveillance, and trying to argue otherwise is disingenuous. You can try to pass the buck, but it isn't fooling anyone


What is a "mass surveillance solution"?


Solution: a means of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation

Mass surveillance: the distributive close observation of an entire population, or a substantial fraction of the entire population

i.e. a means of observation of a population or subset of a population which is exactly what Palantir does, as has been demonstrated by their leaked documents. Sure, you could probably accomplish something similar with the help of other big data analytics companies, but unlike those companies, Palantir's primary business is aiding in mass surveillance

https://southfront.org/palantirs-user-guide-mass-surveillanc...


Take a good look at the screenshots in that link. It's a completely generic database -- you fill in some search fields and some data is returned, you can do a join, and then you can plop that data into a chart. Palantir isn't out there collecting data on citizens or scanning license plates or anything else I would consider "mass surveillance".


If you want to continue to be disingenuous and try to play off Palantir as a run of the mill big data company that is fine, but their business model is implementing and assissting with mass surveillance and I don't know a single individual in the field that is aware of Palantir that considers them "just a consulting company" or interchangeable with tableau or something similar as you seem to be arguing


Again I'll ask -- what do you think Palantir is doing that makes them so different?


As I've already stated, how they market themselves, who they market themselves to, the governments/organizations/companies they've worked with, the company's history, statements from the company's founder, etc. In fact, I've found hardly any sources on Palantir that don't mention their work on mass surveillance. Your comments come off a lot like the comments of Facebook engineers when I discuss Facebook's mass surveillance. Regardless of what you think, the majority opinion seems to be that Palantir is largely a mass surveillance big data company (because they are).


Wow, I would have never guessed that Coca-Cola, Kimberly-Clark, Hershey, Home Depot, and Walmart were all in on the mass surveillance business [1].

Anyways -- agree to disagree. My personal take is that once the mass surveillance has been conducted the cat's out of the bag. Once the LAPD started scannning license plates it doesn't really matter if they're using Palantir to search the data or a bunch of interns sifting through it by hand. The only thing we can do is get the LAPD and the LA City Government to be accountable to their citizens.

1. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/williamalden/inside-pal...


I said it already. They make software specifically for tracking populations. Their user manuals were leaked by vice recently. You can look it up. Trying to equate the software described in those manuals, and what we know of their other contracts and products with Tableau is nonsense.


> They make software specifically for tracking population

They make software for modeling objects. A popular object to model is a person. As technologists we should be a little more immune to the FUD spread by Vice et al.


A gas chamber is just a room for dispersing particles very finely. See I can do it too.


That is _exactly_ my point. Using Tableu to track immigrants is really not much different from using Palantir to track them.


For some reason I cannot reply to your other comment, so I'll use this one. I think we're going to have to agree to disagree. I know what Palantir does, because some of what they HAVE built has leaked into the public. Here's a user manual https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/neapqg/300-californian-ci....

This is just one example among many many examples of them developing software specifically for tracking people. Whether they use their generic data model and build atop it or not, they are knowingly building surveillance software and it is being misused. They know. We know. I don't think it's right. You do. We can disagree.


Here's my take: if Palantir were to magically disappear tomorrow nothing would change. ICE would still exist, they would still collect this data, and they would find some other way to analyze it and put it to use -- potentially using technology that's more prone to abuse than Palantir's.


So your base argument is: Palantir is innocent because someone else would do the things they're doing if they were gone? I'm not even sure how to respond to that. You seem to have dropped the point about them making surveillance software now that I have provided an example. You're on to excusing them because someone else could do the awful things they do. That is not a strong argument.


If you click the timestamp you can respond inline.

I never said Palantir is innocent. I didn't weigh in on the morality of it at all, in fact. My point is just that Palantir is just a data consulting company. I posted this comment in another thread concerning your example:

> Take a good look at the screenshots in that link. It's a completely generic database -- you fill in some search fields and some data is returned, you can do a join, and then you can plop that data into a chart. Palantir isn't out there collecting data on citizens or scanning license plates or anything else I would consider "mass surveillance".

How hard do you think it would be to replicate that with Oracle, Tableau, and a few half-decent data scientists? Except at least with Palantir I expect them to do a few important things right, e.g. security.

I'll leave my final thought here: if you're really concerned about mass surveillance focus your energy on the people doing the mass surveillance and not the people selling them some nice-looking dataviz tools.


Thank you for the help! So we agree that Palantir is not innocent. Why then, do we not go after both the people doing the mass surveillance AND the people enabling it? Intent matters.


Because going after Palantir is ultimately futile, even if they were to agree to cease all contracts with ICE very little would change. It is my suspicion that people who think otherwise are doing so out of a misunderstanding of what Palantir's technology actually does.


You're point is either extremely naive or willfully ignorant.


Maybe so, but please don't post unsubstantive comments and especially please don't cross into personal attack.

Would you mind reviewing the site guidelines and using this site in the intended spirit? We'd be grateful.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


I don't think you quite understand what Palantir does. It's not the imperious machine for evil you think it is -- the government builds all that stuff in-house.

okmokmz 49 days ago [flagged]

Yes, I got the same impression from my discussion with him


Please don't gang up on another user no matter how wrong they are.


Stating how I felt about my discussion with a user to another user is not ganging up. He seemed to be defending the company as if he had a personal stake and was acting willfully ignorant. That is an important thing to be aware of, particularly in discussions such as this


Could you explain that? I, and I think a lot of HN readers, are strongly of the impression that Palantir sells a platform and toolkit for mass data analysis specifically meant for human tracking across large government datasets. I understand that as with any large-scale implementation, a good portion of their actual project dollars will come from billable hours to get it running and keep it running, but they're certainly not run like an actual consulting company.

Also, neither SAP nor IBM are consulting companies. SAP is an ERP provider and IBM is a cloud-based solution provider and outsourcing company. Most people would say consulting companies are those like Accenture, Deloitte, McKinsey, BCG, etc.


SAP and IBM are both absolutely consulting firms, with the caveat that tech consulting means you're actually building solutions for your customers and not just telling them what they should build.

I think the biggest confusion is that Palantir is not in the data collection industry. They make tools to analyze data and contract out consultants (Forward Deployed Engineers) to do the analysis -- but the data is not being sourced by them. There's nothing you can do with Palantir that you couldn't do with any consulting firm or an in-house data-science/data-engineering team. Palantir's value proposition is that they have better tools and smarter people, but there's nothing magical or particularly nefarious about it.


I'm going to continue to disagree on the definition of consulting companies. Consulting companies have billable hours as their primary revenue stream. SAP in Q2 made over 80% of its revenue on cloud and software licenses. It's an ERP company with some consultants, not the other way around. Accenture, in comparison, makes about 75% of its revenue on billable services. I'll give you maybe IBM since their revenue is close to a 50/50 split between billable hours services and infrastructure/application fees depending on how you define the categories in their 10Q.

If anyone has any breakdown for Palantir's revenue by category, I'd love to see it.


I'm not sure why that matters. You can knock on IBM's door with a pile of cash and they'll build your software system for you. I don't doubt that it's a smaller part of their business but it's still analogous to what Palantir does. Pick a different software services company if IBM and SAP don't suit you.


I could also knock on my neighbor's door with a pile of cash and he'd build a shed for me even though he's never swung a hammer in his life. That doesn't mean he's in the business of building sheds, it just means he likes money. Palantir markets itself as a platform and tools vendor, and everything I've seen so far indicates that their primary revenue stream is there, not in professional services.

The actual consulting equivalent of Palantir would be any of the many data science "guns for hire" consultancies floating around that will sell you a few people for $250 an hour to get a project done, then leave.


If he builds you a shed for money he's in the shed-building business. I'm not sure why you're so intent on arguing semantics here.

IBM will build you a system to analyze some data. So will Palantir. Two different firms that offer a similar service. That's the only point I was trying to make.


Semantics here are important because calling Palantir just a consultancy and trying to categorize it with other consultancies is disingenuous. It is a company with a platform and toolset specifically built to enable surveillance states. Calling it a consultancy "like IBM" is not a fair characterization of the company.

And no, if you do a thing once for money you are not in that business. That argument is completely ridiculous. You are in the business of whatever you primarily do for money on a regular basis.


It only feels disingenuous because you're not familiar with Palantir's business or offerings. You're not alone in this, most people who have strong opinions on Palantir have them based on lazy journalism from publications who's primary goal is to spread FUD (it's funny how we laugh at the average journalist's understanding of technology until the narrative aligns with our personal beliefs). I tried my best to explain but it seems you've already come to your conclusions.


You're purposely ignoring intent. Palantir has been a surveillance company from it's inception.


I’ve always understood their product to be big data analytics. They pull together the government’s or their customer’s data from disparate sources to allow the data to be more easily used to draw useful conclusions. They aren’t surveilling anyone as far as I’ve seen. That being said, they do apparently assist ICE with utilizing its own data to assist with immigration/border enforcement.


> There's nothing you can do with Palantir that you couldn't do with any consulting firm or an in-house data-science/data-engineering team. Palantir's value proposition is that they have better tools and smarter people

I agree with this account of what Palantir offers, but it seems like an example of "big enough quantitative differences become qualitative".

Palantir isn't selling data no one else has, and I know the average news scare story about them is ridiculous; they're portrayed like a private NSA even though they don't do primary data gathering at all. (Why doesn't Stratfor draw those hit pieces? Just because they seem less competent and more corporate?) But there's a reason Palantir gets no-bid intelligence agency contracts. What they offer isn't in practice possible for most government agencies or companies to replicate. Part of that is simply competence, but not all of it; Palantir is a data analysis contractor noticeably focused on analyzing humans and finances.

I've seen Palantir do a couple of tech demos aimed at engineers, and they consistently focus on two big things. The first is experience and scale: Palantir has probably dealt with a problem a lot like yours in the past, and has the pre-existing tooling and expertise to produce results much faster than even an equally-competent internal team could. The second is selling human-integrated products, where instead of handing over a data lake or an ML pipeline spitting out probabilities, they provide analysis environments that let human analysts manage lots of data in easily-understood ways, and highlight further data they might wish to integrate. Neither of those things is evil, and I assume the human-integrated stuff is at least partially marketing spin, but I hope its understandable why they would make people nervous.

When people wanted to restrict the National Tracing Center, they restricted it to analog data so that people can only be identified via targeted lookup. Palantir seems to sell the opposite of that; maybe you can't get somebody's phone location without a warrant, but if you can aggregate license plate scanners, automated tolling records, and credit card transactions into a unified model of where they went, maybe you don't need to.


I like your answer but what bothers me:

1. What are the tools we don't know Palantir has? We know a few and while these fit in your description, they're kinda dangerous apps, and this brings me to point 2:

2. Who they sell these to?


I think consulting in tech sometimes means custom software solution with a lot of engineers on loan, often deployed to the customer's site.

But despite Palantir's attempts to expand into the private sector, I do believe their government side has been more successful, so I think it's fair to say that Palantir is a government contractor first and foremost.


>I, and I think a lot of HN readers, are strongly of the impression that Palantir sells a platform and toolkit for mass data analysis specifically meant for human tracking across large government datasets

They do

https://southfront.org/palantirs-user-guide-mass-surveillanc...

https://theintercept.com/2017/02/22/how-peter-thiels-palanti...

https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2018-palantir-peter-thiel...

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2019/07/palantirs_sur...

https://mijente.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Mijente-The-W...


They do! But they don't have the data, these are tools, just like a browser access the web, Palantir solutions access gov data and link to who knows what datasets, but on paper, they ain't no NSA.


Yes and let me remind you that the German branch of IBM supplied the punch card computers and programs for identifying jews in census data in the third reich which enabled the holocaust.

Palantir is doing exactly the same but with much more powerful tools. It is only a matter of time until some government will use their software to commit genocide, not to mention prosecution of political dissidents which is already happening.

Of course Palantir will profit off this and get away with it just like IBM did.

I get downvoted for this every time but someone has to say it. It's the truth whether you like it or not.


Punchcards weren't the problem, Nazis were the problem. Should we be focused on ensuring that every data analysis vendor, worldwide, refuses to sell to our government or should we be focused on ensuring our government doesn't do bad things?

The former is sisyphean, the latter is the most important thing we as a society can do.


This software is a tool that is very easy to abuse, in fact I would go so far to say that its primary purpose is to be abused. Like a gun it has its place in society, but that doesn't absolve you from responsibility when you sell guns to a known dictator. IBM is definitely to blame when they sold their punchcard computers to nazi Germany, knowing that they would be used for genocide (which was not only common knowledge, they even wrote the damn programs!).

You are conflating two separate issues here: The morality of Palantir and their employees and the practicality of stopping abuse.

To get back to the weapons analogy: We may not be able to stop everyone from selling weapons to North Korea but we can surely condemn those who do, wouldn't you agree?

> Punchcards weren't the problem, Nazis were the problem

Nazis are inevitable. Even if you assume that the government actually acquired this software with good intent, you have to anticipate that someone will abuse it. Maybe not today but tomorrow.


> The morality of Palantir and their employees

If the point you're making is that people who work for Palantir are morally akin to people working for the organizers of the Holocaust we'll have to agree to disagree.


If the tools they are making are used for the same purpose then obviously they are. We are not quite at that point yet, but it's not looking good.


Nobody likes the idea of arresting undocumented immigrants and kicking them out of the country. It could probably be done in a better way too. And the legal immigration system is crazy (I've dealt with it myself). But it's work that needs to be done to secure the border, even though it's heartbreaking sometimes. Just like security making sure people don't sneak into a concert without a ticket. I probably wouldn't want to work for a company that was involved in supplying info to ICE raids, but there's a lot of jobs I wouldn't be interested in doing. People should be able to decide for themselves.


Is there any documented evidence on the efficacy of ICE raids? They seem to function primarily as a destabilizing force in communities. We certainly seemed to be doing fine prior to 2003.

From what I can see, they're a bloated DHS organ that's sucking down massive amounts of tax dollars for what amounts to security theater. You'd think in the $47 billion DHS budget they'd find some money for things like soap and toothbrushes.


The raids are efficacious, not in their legal purpose of securing the homeland and enforcing the rule of law but in their political purpose of providing media-worthy evidence to voters that the ruling party is aggressively protecting those voters from The Other.

$47B to stay in power is a steal.


Yes, there is evidence, right on the ICE website: https://www.ice.gov/features/ERO-2018


A sweep targeting thousands of people nation-wide resulted in only 35 arrests: https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2019-07-23/ice-ra...

The number on ICE's website are computed based on an Obama-era change where they can count turning away people at the border as a deportation.


Did I get it right that you're complaining about ICE not making enough arrests?


I'm saying it's a bloated government organ that spends billions of tax-payer dollars to perform what amounts to security theater. You could cut it down to 1/10th the size and pass the savings on to tax payers (or allocate somewhere more effective) and get better outcomes.

Even if you support their mission There's really nothing defensible ICE. They're sucking down billions while being bad at what they do.


You’re missing the fact that while doing « important » things, they are tearing families apart, putting little kids in camps. Proud of more people standing up against palanatir, hope more do it.


This isn't true. Their own government created the pre-requisite conditions for this, and then their parents acted on those by breaking the law.

If you are an insane or mentally incapable parent, your kids will be, essentially 'put in a camp'. The US government is doing what it should be.

Identity politics zealots can down-vote, of course, but I fought a decade for my green card - the right way. And every time people who skirt the law are allowed to stay in this country the wrong way it disrespects, belittles and is a slap in the fact to everyone who came here the right way, respectfully waiting even while my own family was living in basically a war zone.

Anyone who comes here illegally to benefit themselves at the expense of the state is an enemy - forget this, or sacrifice this principle, and your progeny will very likely be born into a living hell of a similar kind that those people (god bless them, I'm not heartless - I grew up in it) are trying to run away from. I thought this before I had my green card as well: it's about integrity.


> Their own government created the pre-requisite conditions for this

So we aren't going to talk about decades of US destabilization of Central and South America for corporate profit?


That's a very roundabout way of saying "fuck you, got mine". Also trying to justify splitting apart families and leaving literal babies in cages to fend for themselves is messed up.


Good thing that isn't happening then. Except maybe in China where Google and Apple like to operate.


> But it's work that needs to be done to secure the border

I'm not sure if this makes sense. If you're trying to deport someone living as an undocumented immigrant, they're already past the border. ICE explicitly does not work at the border anyway, that's a different agency.


Enforcing laws dissuades others from violating those laws. We can debate how effective law enforcement is, but that's the premise.


>Nobody likes the idea of arresting undocumented immigrants and kicking them out of the country

Tell that to my grandma


> But it's work that needs to be done to secure the border, even though it's heartbreaking sometimes.

Does it? How much violence is too much for this? What is the nature of this security and how many deaths is it worth? Or is this just another Vietnam/Iraq endless meat grinder of ill-considered purpose?


People put their lives and their children's lives in danger to illegally enter the United States, frequently paying human traffickers substantial money in the process, because the border and enforcement is weak. They know that if they can get past the border they have a very good chance of spending as long as they want living and working in the US.


How many deaths are actually caused by securing the border, especially compared to Iraq/Vietnam? Further, are these essential to securing the border, or could we secure the border effectively while reducing the casualties? Lastly, instead of directing our outrage at the country defending its sovereignty, perhaps we could look at the countries that are creating conditions that drive its citizens to make the desperate decisions to immigrate illegally?


> perhaps we could look at the countries that are creating conditions that drive its citizens to make the desperate decisions to immigrate illegally?

That would be great, actually. A mature intelligent solution that helps everyone, which is why it's not going to happen.


Well, we agree on this much, at least. :)


>But it's work that needs to be done to secure the border, even though it's heartbreaking sometimes

Sounds like you have no problem having yourself and your loved ones sitting in a cage with no hygiene considerations, then.


Used some if their product. They do a good job. Perfect example of how good products can be used to cause so much harm.



Considering the story of the original Palantir, I couldn't think of a better name.



What a strong read. Thank you fellow hacker.


[flagged]


Not what i said. Straw-man much?


More like a governmental agency's predatory tracking and snatching of the exploited who are just trying to work as opposed to going after the corporations that are turning a blind eye to the status of their employees and are unwilling to pay competitive wages is ... Wroonnngg.


> About 4.5 million of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, or 42 percent of the total undocumented population, overstayed visas, according to the report. [1]

You're right, they are just people trying to work, and there needs to be better handling of the entire situation. However almost half of them made an agreement with the government and then reneged. People should abide by the agreements they make.

[1] https://www.rollcall.com/news/congress/border-illegal-immigr...


Under this criteria, all Marijuana users in the US are guilty of at least Misdemeanors and probably Felony drug possession.

Under this criteria, every person who has ever driven over the speed limit, and especially a large amount over the speed limit, is Guilty.

Do you see what the problem is with your reasoning.


If you're caught for these things you face the associated consequences


So the question is what are the appropriate consequences? This is a reasonable point of debate.

On the one hand the consequences probably shouldn't be nothing. On the other they probably shouldn't be irrevocably tearing apart their family, deporting the adults abroad sometimes to the wrong country and then losing track of their young children in the social services system, as a terror tactic to try and scare other visa violators into line.


A legislative debate, which is my entire point. People aren't showing anywhere near the level of vitriol that ICE receives towards the local police for enforcing laws that are IMO far more ridiculous. Currently in many states people are torn from their families to be placed in cages and children are dumped into facilities because their parents possessed a benign plant which happens to be legal in a plurality of states -- there's no outrage because there's not the full force of the zeitgeist beaming it through the telescreens as a crisis for political purposes. I don't agree with any of it personally but just have to scoff at the hypocrisy.


It would be hypocrisy if the same people that approved of tearing families apart in one case disapproved of it in the other. That tends not to be the case though, generally speaking the people who disapprove of one also disapprove of the other. The level of agitation about them is mainly a matter of pragmatism, not hypocrisy.

As for the people who generally approve of both, they may not be hypocrites, unless they also profess to be pro family and traditional values in which case yes very, very much, but that would be one of the mildest terms I'd use for them if it were applicable.


I'm sure that argument holds up when you're before a judge on a few counts of possession.


So you would agree then that someone caught with a gram of marijuana deserves over a decade in prison?

Or are we just going to argue that the law itself is moral and just, while ignoring the uneven application of said laws? Which is really the point here.


To be fair, the jails are filled with people who were found in possession of marijuana. There may be a lot of issues with that, but they still get arrested.


What-about-isms always gloss over tons of context. Even drug legalization involves plenty of law and order.


It's not just with ICE. They help cops do a lot of big data citizen tracking and spying. If america had a social credit system like China,palantir would run it.

In the movie "Den of thieves" the actors studied real police so well they even included palantir in their dialogue.


This is how the world changes. Just because ICE is enforcing the law does not mean that what they do with Palantir’s software is ethical. Once upon a time the military was enforcing the law by outing and dismissing gay people and that changed by private entities taking a stand. Just acting on the default that enforcing the current law is ethical is just lazy, IMHO.

So, you can have any opinion you want about whether or not the job fair should have acted the way it did but I think it’s well within their right to do so if they want to make an impact.


As Google has recently proven steering clear of the politically woke is probably the right move anyways.


Trying to keep them all happy on Twitter is like herding cats.

Eventually they realize it doesn't matter how many emergency half-baked 'solutions' they come up with in time before the news cycle moves on to the next outrage.


Their share price seems to be doing ok.


Would you argue that there isn't a gun problem because gun sales went up after a shooting?


Stupid question: The article never says what ICE is, anyone can give a clue to non-americas readers?


Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement


Its the government agency that tracks illegal immigration and detains/deports them.


It's the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency


It's the investigative and law enforcement side of the Department of Homeland security.


Comment readers be warned, this is a fairly toxic and divisive thread.


You would've thought that the esteemed readers of HN would be able to spot and rise above an article like this, knowing there's no "winning side" and you're not gonna be changing anyone's views today.

Humans of all calibre just love a scrap, it seems.


I don’t think it would be appropriate to rise above an article like this. It matters if a major tech company gets excluded from things, whether you think that the community is rising up against bad tech or that Palantir is being unfairly demonized. You can’t make a rule of never discussing controversial things.


And any humans who don't love the scrap probably make liberal use of that "flag" button.


I think that's an unfair characterization. You may dislike what many commenters are saying, but the comments are polite, avoid personal attacks and make reasonably good faith arguments. I disagree with many of them, but I wouldn't call them toxic or divisive.


Doesn't Palantir also contract with Middle-Eastern governments that are not exactly known for their outstanding record on LGBTQ affairs? If so, I'm surprised that that concern wasn't brought up.


Yes a gay man like Thiel not looking out for LGBTQ people's rights would be quite shocking. But then money knows no gender orientation.


Why would there be any correlation between sexual orientation and morality?


That's not what OP was trying to say. The point here is the irony of Peter Thiel, an openly gay man, having cofounded Palantir, which helps foreign governments persecute LGBTQ+ people.


Well I mean, the organizers of this job fair certainly seem to think there is.


That surprisingly doesn’t seem to matter to most tech people, no one boycotts Vision Fund companies (I personally do).


No problem with enforcing the law of the land but locking up kids and separating them from their parents , and withholding essentials like basic cleaning and health services makes this a moral issue of those who enable this i.e Amazon, Palantir etc ...


Unfortunately the lack of funding is purely political football. Regarding the separation issue, how do feel about prisons which historically involve separation from family members?


Illegal immigration is different because often the entire family commits the crime together. Further an irregular border crossing is a misdemeanor not a Felony. We don’t take kids away from parents for misdemeanors.

But even if you ignored the cruel and unusual punishment aspects - deporting the children separately is unforgivable. In some cases they didn’t even bother to record the family connection before separating them.


You can absolutely go to jail for misdemeanors.


None of these people have been convicted of anything. It's not a judicial punishment. Furthermore, some of them aren't even immigrants. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-citizens-ice-20180...

Fundamentally, America has given the right - no, demanded - that police do "papers please" stops on people, and given them the right to detain them indefinitely until they produce papers. This is like a mandatory ID card system but without the benefits or coherent organisation.


[flagged]


No they cannot. The new zero tolerance policy means all illegal crossers are charged and forced to remain until court proceedings are concluded. There is no option for voluntary repatriation anymore.


Everyone is separated from their kids when they're arrested. This is a fake scandal.

As for poor living conditions, it isn't really a systemic or intentional thing. Conditions vary by facility. Some are remarkably fine, some are strained beyond their capacity. That's not really their fault. Let's apply some agency to the people coming across the border, rather than just ICE. Personally, I wouldn't think to illegally sneak into a country, refuse to leave, then complain about not getting dental care and a comfy bed fast enough. Spare me. How about we just not let them in?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/the-head-of-ice-c...


> Everyone is separated from their kids when they're arrested. This is a fake scandal.

Fake outcry. If a parent is sent to jail, the children are given to protective services not sent into internment camps without basic necessities. How about all the Europeans go back to their countries and the natives round up their kids in internment camps.


We can complain about conditions in child protective services, too. No system is perfect. I suspect this is a tactical criticism, and the conditions aren't the real objection, but rather the fact that we're not just releasing everyone to freely live in the interior.

Are you implying unwanted mass immigration was bad for the native Americans? Is it good for the Europeans now?


You want to deport illegals, no objections from me. But in this case the ends don't justify the means. Do it correctly without causing unnecessary suffering and you won't hear a peep out of me.


Care to outline exactly how that would be done? Or what alternative you see?


Sounds like a PR stunt by this this organization holding the career fair. They knew what they were getting themselves into when they accepted Palantir's money to hold a table their. This ICE reputation by Palantir isn't some new revelation.

if I took money from Trump, am I going pretend to act shocked when he did something controversial? No, I knew the whole time


So we have the fake outrage here over working with a government organization to enforce the law (which you may disagree with, but it is still the law).

Meanwhile, Apple, Google, etc all get a free pass for working with China, which is doing far worse things to its citizens, and has made no attempt to conceal that it wants to use those tech companies to do even worse things. The hypocrisy on this board is astounding at times.


You seem to forget that what you refer to as "still the law" is only the law in one country (the USA), and when Apple, Google etc comply in China the rules they are complying with are "still the law" in that country.


I'm not sure how you could consider Google to have been given a "free pass", given the number of times stories about employees protesting those issues have trended here.


When was the last time Google was kicked out of a job fair over their products or abuse of personal data?


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Tell that to Nike. Their stock price has nearly doubled. You may not like it and you may not agree with it, but it's smart business.

It's like saying Fox News should be less conservative. A very bad idea: there's big money in conservative television media.


It does, however, make you far more vulnerable, as any dirt found on you now reflects badly on your newly selected customer base, and they will react even more viciously in response. See the recent Soulcycle debacle for a prime example of that.

EDIT: Heh. For those who say 'we don't do that!' - yes, you do.


Restructure your economy so you don't have to exploit people to make a decent living.


It's so alien to me how this line of thinking is normalized in the US.

In other countries illegal aliens are deported because they are breaking the law. In Bolivia you would have a very difficult time finding bolivians who want to allow illegal colombians or brazilians to stay in the country. They want them out because they disproportionately commit more of the drug/violent crime.

In argentina, they want illegal bolivians out because they take jobs for very little money.

You can go on country by country.

Why is the US so divided on this? Who spent so much money to push this train of thought for decades onto people?


The liberal (not progressive) argument is this: To solve the issue of undocumented immigration, we should:

1. enforce e-verify nationwide. If a company is caught employing undocumented workers and the company is not using e-verify, the executives are put in prison. Documentation fraud from the immigrant remains a crime punishable by prison and deportation.

2. Regardless of deporting or not, those in detention should be treated humanely, given food, water, shelter, and adequate space. Parents and children should not be separated. For those not charged with a crime, it should not be built the same way as a prison -- It doesn't have to be the Four Seasons to be humane.

3. ICE raids terrorize legal residents and citizens of color. As mentioned in #1, any such "raids" should be against HR. If you make employers accountable, the problem becomes much smaller. Yes, if someone is arrested and is undocumented they should be deported. No, we shouldn't be breaking down doors and sending militarized teams to do so.

4. Immigration reform is a completely different topic.


Because we're the land of the free? When was the last time you showed your passport to go from Iowa to Illinois etc? We wrote it into our Constitution that interstate travel would be unfettered. And back when that was written, each 'State' was indeed an independent political entity.

Extending this today to other Nations is not so foreign an idea.


The land of the free, pretty much by definition assumes no social services.

That being said, I personally would not mind retiring in the UK with British medicine, British housing and British retirement benefits.


Social services have been present in America since before Revolutionary times.

This idea that 'America Great Again' means selfishness and abandoning the old and poor, is a purely modern idea of the last decade.


I don't have the answer to these questions: who benefits from people staying in usa illegally and why? Why are (some) people illegally staying in usa being 'weaponized' as a political tool? As long as we have borders and nations, why shouldn't a country decide who gets in and why?


Enforcement of immigration policies in those countries, with the possible exception of Bolivia, is far laxer.


Is it? Mexico deports roughly as many migrants as the US. Proportional to the population, this is over 2x as much. And let's not get started on India's deportation of Muslims to neighboring countries.

This assumption that the US is uniquely strict in its border enforcement does not seem to hold water.


America wasn't for a long time. You can find footage of most leftist politicians supporting stronger borders. Basically, President Trump made it a campaign issue, and so the left stopped.

Orange Man bad, basically.


strong borders != a dumb, expensive wall.

The left's position has not changed much on border security at all. Process asylum claims faster, penalize employers for participating in illegal hiring, and use modern tech to control borders.


Interestingly, two terms of Obama presidency have a notable dip in a number of processed applications: https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/539/


I'd believe that under the Obama administration but it's a much tougher sell now.


I refuse to believe that you actually believe what you wrote, upon a moment's reflection. Opposing Trump's approach to immigration doesn't equate to opposing better border security. That's like equating opposition to "No Child Left Behind" with opposing "improving K-12 education." Trump's border policy promises to be both ineffective, extremely expensive, and a semi-permanent symbol of xenophobia and racism.

If I had to stack-rank:

(a) a literal Southern border wall motivated by President Trump's vile campaign rhetoric.

(b) making the border completely open and defunding ICE entirely

I'd prefer (b) - but I still think (b) is a terrible idea. I actually (unlike most people who are "afraid of immigrants") know a convicted violent felon who was deported from the United States to their home country (in Europe) after serving a prison sentence who I legitimately think is a threat to people I care about, and who I don't want re-entering the country under any circumstances (Ironically the deportee is a diagnosed pathological narcissist) - and I still prefer open borders to what the current executive leadership of the United States is pushing.

The question is not whether to have controls on who/what crosses the border, the question is how and why.

I personally think the marginal utility of spending additional Federal dollars policing the border and enforcing immigration controls is a net negative to the United States given our current infrastructure, so I believe we should spend less time and money doing it. That doesn't mean there aren't other avenues for controlling externalities caused by illegal immigration (such as they are).


You mean the country that is drawing so much criticism for trying to enforce its immigration laws?


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Money will always trump morals for a sufficiently large amount of people. (no pun intended)


As an aside to this thread, I think Palantir has been floating on Ivy League hires and prestige instead of money for its positions


The left-wing is equally hostile to science, facts, and the educated, depending on which topic is under scientific scrutiny.

The hard-right scoff at the results of scientific inquiry into climate change. The hard-left scoff at the results of scientific inquiry into sex differences.

Both sides would do well to set aside their cherished narratives and simply analyze the facts revealed by the current best science.


I would have assumed that lesbian ideas about immigration ran the gamut of the political spectrum, just the same as non-lesbians. It’s curious that they apparently cluster at one end.


If you're a person facing societal oppression you're likely to (1) recognize that societal oppression actually exists and (2) be sympathetic to others who are facing societal oppression.


All the more reason they should support an open environment which allows individual members to decide which companies they do and don't want to work for.


> Facing societal oppression

> Sponsored by some of the country's biggest companies: https://lesbianswhotech.org/newyork2019/#Sponsors


Are you implying that no one in an LGBTQ group could be facing societal oppression because they have major sponsors? That's absurd


For example, here we see a person denying the existence of societal oppression.



Diversity != Diversity of thought


What I think you're trying to say is:

"A group of people who value diversity overwhelmingly support politics which promote diversity and reject politics which do not. But I wish they either didn't care about diversity or valued diversity in a way that didn't influence their politics because it annoys me."


Diversity of what, though? I've worked at progressive tech companies. They're okay at achieving diversity of skin color, but pretty bad at achieving a diversity of world views. Expulsion explicitly on the basis of the fact that Palantir sells products to ICE is going to reduce diversity by alienating the significant segment of the population that does support border enforcement.


They do, just as immigration stances vary across all populations of people. LWT staff however decided to make a decision based on feedback from some of its members/participants. I don't think any conclusions can be drawn based on the actions of the organizers.


Do you think it's a fair, balanced decision taking in a wide range of opinion or a reactionary one based on a few particularly loud naysayers? Past conference experience leads me to believe it's most likely the later.


Everything correlates with everything. Politics is a special case of that.


It depends on who you're looking at. There are a few "loud", activist-y homosexuals, but most just go live their lives like any one else. You hear a lot more from the "activist-y" types because they tend to be much louder.


Palantir has a group called Palan-queer https://www.palantir.com/diversity/ for LGBT’s


Soon, activists will start boycotting Microsoft (gov't agencies use Word and Excel), 3M (gov't agencies use Post-it notes), and Charmin (they also buy toilet paper).


Big difference between making general purpose software like MS is and making software specifically for a specific purpose...


There have already been calls to boycott cloud providers for providing VMs in the cloud so no, it seems there's little difference in the eyes of some people.


One protests where they can, and where it's feasible. In this instance, they were in a position to turn down a company that not only makes software that is directly used for purposes they don't agree with, but whose CEO has a viewpoint they strongly oppose (in contrast with Microsoft, 3M, or Charmin, which support in a very indirect fashion).


I've been boycotting Angle Soft for political reasons. Not that anyone cares.


What is angle soft, and for what political reasons are you boycotting it? Maybe if you provided more info, people would.


It is toilet paper manufactured by Georgia Pacific a subsidiary of Koch Industries. I don't have a car because I can work from home so I mostly walk or bike keeping healthy although doing it for environmental reasons. I also boycott refined sugar in protest against mismanagement of sugar cane production runoff in Florida. Nobody cares about that either, however, I've lost a ton of weight since and my dentist says that my teeth are perfectly healthy, so there is that.




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