From My Palantir Archive: Security

May 27, 2016

I was curious about my notes about Palantir and its security capabilities. I have some digital and paper files. I print out some items and tuck them in a folder labeled “Hobbits.” In my Hobbit folder was:

Q.&A.: Guarding Personal Data From Abuse by Insiders, October 14, 2015

You may be able to locate a copy of this story by searching the New York Times or by going to your local library and using its OPAC. If that doesn’t work, you may have to delve into the flagging world of commercial databases.

In the write up, I noticed that I had circled in tell-the-truth blue this passage:

For privacy, the main worry may not be hackers as much as bad actions by authorized users. A useful concept in information system architecture is accountability oversight. Flagging people who misuse things. Revealing private things only by degree. Having access controls.

I thought of this because Buzzfeed has published a couple of write ups based on Palantir’s own information. Presumably the information could not have come from insiders because Palantir’s own security professional referenced the firm’s auditing capability.

The idea, as I understand it, is that one can use Palantir’s logs to “walk back the cat” and identify a person or persons who might have taken an action to reveal company information.

I also circled:

When a data breach is exposed, it’s a discrete event. You know what will happen, for the most part. Marketing is directed at a lifestyle.

Yeah, but Buzzfeed has published two articles and both struck me as deriving factoids from different sources.

With Socom embracing Palantir for maybe three years, my question is, “Does Palantir have safeguards in place which will make a third Buzzfeed type article a low probability or 0.000001 event?

Yikes, two articles based on what may be leaked internal information. What happens if sensitive military information goes walkabout?

I assume there is no such thing as a Hobbit alert? I need to read The Architecture of Privacy, an O’Reilly book written by Palantirians or Hobbits. I hope this is not a do-as-I-say, not a do-as-I-do thing.

Stephen E Arnold, May 27, 2016


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