Palantir: Cambridge Analytica Secondary Shock Wave

April 19, 2018

Data analysis firm Palantir has come under scrutiny after it was learned that one of its employees contributed to Cambridge Analytica’s acquisition of private data back in 2013 and 2014. Now BuzzFeed News emphasizes, “Palantir Had No Policy on Social Media Data Collection Prior to 2015.” The company was used to working with internal data for organizations like the FBI and JPMorgan Chase, to name just a couple big-name examples, where the data is clearly their clients’ property. When Palantir began working with social-media data, it seems they failed to anticipate the need for a comprehensive policy. Reporter William Alden writes:

“Palantir insiders felt that the company’s ‘ad hoc’ approach to handling social media data for customers in general was ‘becoming unworkable,’ a senior engineer said in an October 2014 memo not related to Cambridge Analytica. Palantir took steps to develop a social media data policy in early 2015, soliciting input from employees who’d worked on customer accounts involving the use of such data, an email from that time shows. Palantir has said previously that its employee, Alfredas Chmieliauskas, advised the Cambridge Analytica team in ‘an entirely personal capacity’ from 2013 to 2014, and that Cambridge Analytica was never a Palantir customer. There is no indication in the documents seen by BuzzFeed News that the push by Palantir to develop the social media policy had anything to do with Cambridge Analytica. Rather, the push was tied to requests by Palantir’s customers to mine social data during a time when Facebook’s restrictions on accessing and gathering data were much looser.”

The article reveals a few more details about Palantir’s internal discussion, and reminds us that the prevailing attitude toward social-media data was much more relaxed then than it is today. We trust that the company has tightened up their policy since. Founded in 2004, Palantir is based in Palo Alto, California, and has offices around the world.

This alleged interaction may cause a gentle breeze or a cyclone. Stay tuned.

Cynthia Murrell, April 19, 2018

Comments

Got something to say?





  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta