'Analysts with the Los Angeles Police Department are reportedly using Palantir software to direct officers to surveil “probable offenders” throughout the city, many of whom are not criminal suspects but have been spotlighted by the company’s predictive technology, according to LAPD documents.
In Justice Today reviewed internal LAPD documents from October 2017 that point to a persistent surveillance campaign compelling analysts to maintain rotating lists of targets selected by agency data-mining techniques and predictive policing tech pioneered by Palantir. The documents were obtained through a public records request filed by the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, which provides them to In Justice Today.
The In Justice Today report points to what the LAPD calls Chronic Offender Bulletins. Essentially, these bulletins are profiles, partially generated by Palantir software, for individuals who have had some contact with the LAPD. Violent crimes, gun crimes, suspected gang affiliation, and other designations increase a person’s Chronic Offender Score. A high score alone is not enough to justify detainment, but officers are given one-page summaries of a person’s arrest history, notable physical features (referred to as “physical oddities”), cars they own, and a list of where they’ve been stopped by police.
The LAPD used Chronic Offender Bulletins before Palantir’s involvement, but the report notes that the process is both increasingly automated by its software and per-infraction penalties are more severe. A spokesperson for Palantir disagreed with this characterization, telling In Justice Today that the CBO creation is “a human-driven process,” although Palantir software is used in the creation of CBOs, the spokesperson said.'
Read more: The LAPD Uses Palantir Tech to Predict and Surveil 'Probable Offenders'
Palantir: the ‘special ops’ tech giant that wields as much real-world power as Google
'In Minority Report, the 2002 movie adaptation of the Philip K Dick novel, Tom Cruise plays a police officer in the LAPD “pre-crime” unit. Using the premonitions of sentient mutants called “pre-cogs”, the police are able to predict when someone is going to commit a crime before it happens, swooping down from helicopters and arresting them on the street before they can do anything. Their “crime” is that they merely thought about it.
Palantir, the CIA-backed startup, is Minority Report come true. It is all-powerful, yet no one knows it even exists. Palantir does not have an office, it has a “SCIF” on a back street in Palo Alto, California. SCIF stands for “sensitive compartmentalised information facility”. Palantir says its building “must be built to be resistant to attempts to access the information within. The network must be ‘airgapped’ from the public internet to prevent information leakage.”
Palantir’s defence systems include advanced biometrics and walls impenetrable to radio waves, phone signal or internet. Its data storage is blockchained: it cannot be accessed by merely sophisticated hacking, it requires digital pass codes held by dozens of independent parties, whose identities are themselves protected by blockchain.
What is Palantir protecting? A palantir is a “seeing stone” in JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings; a dark orb used by Saruman to be able to see in darkness or blinding light. “Palantir” means “one that sees from afar”, a mythical instrument of omnipotence.'
Read more ...