Forbes reports on the CIA-funded data-mining startup Palantir and its “deviant philosopher” and chief executive Alex Karp. For the past five years, the company has become the “go-to” for mining massive data sets for U.S. intelligence agencies and is now poised to “take corporate America by storm.” The tools deployed by Palantir have been credited with sniffing out Mexican drug cartel members and locating Osama Bin Laden. The ACLU’s Jay Stanley said that Palantir’s software could bolster a “true totalitarian nightmare, monitoring the activities of innocent Americans on a massive scale.” Karp, however, believes the company can rewrite the rules around privacy and security. “I didn’t sign up for the government to know when I smoke a joint or have an affair,” he said. Palantir notes that it has privacy-centered, technical safeguards as well as a team of “privacy and civil liberties engineers.”
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