Posts by: John Grant

Going International with the Palantir Council of Advisors on Privacy and Civil Liberties

In 2012, our PCL team assembled the Palantir Council of Advisors on Privacy and Civil Liberties (PCAP), a body of experts in the privacy and civil liberties field who help us understand and address the complex privacy and civil liberties issues that arise in the course of building a sophisticated data analytics platform. The group continues to meet on a regular basis to discuss an ever-growing array of topics and provide invaluable advice to assist Palantir in enhancing the privacy and civil liberties protections built into our powerful analytic platforms.

Continue Reading

Lawrence Lessig on Technology as a "Protector of Liberty"

Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the founder of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, has long been at the forefront of thinking about how law and technology interact.  His influential book, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, included his now famous assertion that “Code is law.” He contends that the architecture of technology itself, at least as much as traditional legal structures, dictates how privacy and civil liberties are protected for those who use it. As he states in a recent interview with Bill Moyers, “We’ve got to think about the technology as a protector of liberty too.” Check out the full interview to hear Lessig discuss this theme in greater depth. He mentions Palantir’s PCL-protective capabilities at 13:30.

Continue Reading

Don't Just Trust Us

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Team was in Brussels, Belgium, in January for the Computers, Privacy, and Data Protection conference, a three-day meeting of academics, NGOs, government officials, and corporations concerned about legal and technological issues related to the protection of privacy. In addition to a number of interesting panel discussions, the conference was an occasion for conversation. It provided a wonderful opportunity to get a global perspective on privacy and data protection issues from a wide variety of viewpoints. In the course of swapping theories and cases studies with other privacy and technology wonks, I got an opportunity to introduce many people to Palantir for the first time.

Continue Reading

Privacy, Civil Liberties, and Video Analytics: Part 1

During the past year and a half, Palantir has been developing Palantir Video, a video analytics application that will allow Palantir Gotham users to better integrate video information into the rest of their analyses. The initial Palantir Video functionality will be limited to basic playback capabilities and the ability for a user to tag individuals and events within video data and associate those tags with information from other data sources in Palantir Gotham. As we continue to develop this capability, we will explore more advanced analytic capabilities, many of which may raise concerns about the potential effects of this kind of analysis on the protection of privacy and civil liberties.

Continue Reading

Announcing the Palantir Council on Privacy and Civil Liberties

Last month, at Palantir’s GovCon8 event, our CEO, Dr. Alex Karp, announced the creation of the Palantir Council of Advisors on Privacy and Civil Liberties (PCAP). This Council of experts has been created to assist us in understanding and addressing the complex privacy and civil liberties (P/CL) issues surrounding the use of our platform to aggregate and analyze of data in the many areas in which our customers work.

Continue Reading

A Study in Cell Phones

A recent story in the New York Times, “More Demands on Cell Carriers in Surveillance,” describes the response by cellular service providers to an inquiry from Rep. Edward J. Markey, in which the service providers reported on the frequency of requests for subscriber information by law enforcement agencies. In 2011, carriers responded to more than 1.3 million requests for subscriber information (anything from billing address to geolocational information based on GPS and cell tower hits).

Continue Reading

Code is Law… But Law is Pretty Important Too

In our “There’s an app for that!” world, it seems hard to believe that you can’t just “code away” any privacy problems that might arise with the use of information technology. Shouldn’t it be possible to prevent the rogue government official from using law enforcement databases to stalk his ex-wife? Can’t we build a system that recognizes when someone is about to inadvertently electronically share information with another individual that should have been kept confidential? At the end of the day, however, protecting privacy in the IT world requires more than just ones and zeroes.

Continue Reading

Welcome to the PCL Blog

“The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over its government.” - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Continue Reading