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Once a Surveillance Secret, Palantir Manual Becomes Public

The secret manual for the use of facial recognition and data collection software company Palantir was made public thanks to a FOIA request. It includes instructions on how to find a complete account of a person's movements.
July 17, 2019, 1pm PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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The user manual for Palantir Gotham, a data analysis and surveillance software used by police forces, federal agencies, and private companies is now public. The powerful program is used by JP Morgan, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and numerous local police forces. "The Palantir user guide shows that police can start with almost no information about a person of interest and instantly know extremely intimate details about their lives," Caroline Haskins reports for Motherboard.

For example, "If police have a name that’s associated with a license plate, they can use automatic license plate reader data to find out where they’ve been, and when they’ve been there. This can give a complete account of where someone has driven over any time period," Haskins reports. Haskins goes on to explain that with a name the service can pull someone’s bank accounts, social security number(s), business relationships, family relationships, current and previous addresses, and license information like height, weight, and eye color.

The software takes data from many sources. "The Palantir guide shows that this data is pulled from several different management systems at once. For instance, a Palantir screenshot included in the guide shows that the NCRIC lets police pull from the record management systems of the San Mateo and Palo Alto Police Departments," Haskins reports. Gotham can also be combined with available facial recognition software, a technology that some states and cities are voting on whether to ban.

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Published on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Motherboard
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