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How Palantir's Spy Tool for Cops Works

On this week’s CYBER, we map out how the secretive Silicon Valley company influences the very technological landscape of the modern world.

by Motherboard Staff
Jul 18 2019, 11:00am

A Silicon Valley company with a history of CIA funding, a suite of highly sought after intelligence software tools, and a gallivanting billionaire founder with connections to the Trump Administration is set to become one of the biggest IPOs in recent memory.

Yet many outside of the infosec world don’t even know its name or that it even exists—a sharp difference Palantir doesn’t share with other similar-sized startups based out of the Silicon Valley.

But Palantir’s surveillance software, which essentially siphons up monumental amounts of data on the public using state, police, and federal databases can map interpersonal relationships between people and provide that info to the fingertips of police and spies in a matter of seconds.

Among the list of past and current Palantir clients are the NSA, CIA, Department of Homeland Security and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement—which directly uses its technology to fuel its controversial raids on undocument workers.

Motherboard reporter Caroline Haskins obtained a copy of one of the company’s top-secret police manuals describing how to use its software. The revelation gave privacy-concerned onlookers a rare insight into just how invasive Palantir technology can be.

On this week’s CYBER, Caroline sits down with host Ben Makuch to map out what Palantir is and how this company influences the very technological landscape of the modern world.