Palantir Tries to Preserve Their Government Contracts

In a post I’ll write some day, I will show how the WikiLeaks cables show that every time a partner government threatens to use the high tech intelligence toys we share with it–notably our telecommunication wiretapping–to spy on domestic opponents, the Obama Administration makes a very concerted effort to disavow such efforts (if not end the partnership).

Which is why I find it so interesting that the CEO of Palantir Technologies just apologized to Glenn Greenwald for (I guess) allowing HBGary to target him for an oppo research and attack on his credibility.

“As the Co-Founder and CEO of Palantir Technologies, I have directed the company to sever any and all contacts with HB Gary,” the statement starts.

Dr. Karp explains that Palantir Technologies provides a software analytic platform for the analysis of data. They do not provide – “nor do we have any plans to develop” – offensive cyber capabilities.

In addition, the statement says that Palantir does not build software that is designed to allow private sector entities to obtain non-public information, engage in so-called cyber attacks, or take other offensive measures.

“I have made clear in no uncertain terms that Palantir Technologies will not be involved in such activities. Moreover, we as a company, and I as an individual, always have been deeply involved in supporting progressive values and causes. We plan to continue these efforts in the future,” Dr. Karp added.

“The right to free speech and the right to privacy are critical to a flourishing democracy. From its inception, Palantir Technologies has supported these ideals and demonstrated a commitment to building software that protects privacy and civil liberties. Furthermore, personally and on behalf of the entire company, I want to publicly apologize to progressive organizations in general, and Mr. Greenwald in particular, for any involvement that we may have had in these matters.”

Somehow,Dr. Karp forgot to apologize to Brad Friedman, another journalist WBGary–in projects bid in partnership with Palantir–has targeted.

As a reminder, Palantir Technologies is one of the two other security firms that HBGary partnered with to try to get spying business with Bank of America and the Chamber of Commerce.

But perhaps more relevant is Palantir’s primary focus: working with the national security apparatus. They’ve done at least $6,378,332 in business with entities like SOCOM and FBI in the last several years. And while they say they have no plans to adopt “offensive cyber capabilities,” that’s not to say they’re not helping the government analyze data on our presumed enemies.

I would imagine Palantir has pretty good reason to know that the government will not do business with a contractor using the same technologies to target Glenn Greenwald (and maybe Brad Friedman).

At least not publicly. Remember–DOJ recommended Hunton & Williams (which put Palantir and HBGary together for the bid) to Bank of America.

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0 Responses to Palantir Tries to Preserve Their Government Contracts

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz This is a great piece, and it is nice to hear Kurt Schmoke again. Not to mention he is spot on with his words:
bmaz @tears_go__by @adamshermanesq @LisaBloom Yes, they often self-break, but only self-repair when helpful to the blue.
bmaz RT @fedcourts: A federal judge is airing his grievances today: Can't wait 7 more months for Festivus, I suppose.
bmaz RT @zunguzungu: It's totally a coincidence that troops are occupying black neighborhoods in Baltimore right when this happens
bmaz RT @zunguzungu: While Baltimore is selectively occupied by US troops, Texas dreams its dream of Obama invading from Afro-Washington.
bmaz RT @SarahKnuckey: @Ali_Gharib New strike is a test of President's April 23 statement: "US is a democracy committed to openness in good time…
bmaz RT @Ali_Gharib: @SarahKnuckey No comment yet! But we'll see. (Do you think this being an overt war makes it more likely?)
bmaz RT @SarahKnuckey: @Ali_Gharib Will there be a public statement from the President explaining this one?
bmaz RT @Ali_Gharib: Rights activists: Coalition air raid kills at least 50 civilians in Syria:
bmaz @ScottGreenfield I actually started gathering up some stuff to write on this yesterday. Think I may have to go back at it today.
bmaz @ScottGreenfield I know what they cost today....
February 2011
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