Palantir Technologies: The Buzzfeed Beat

July 3, 2017

I read “There’s a Fight Brewing between the NYPD and Silicon Valley’s Palantir.” Two points about this story. Palantir Technologies, a vendor profiled in my CyberOSINT and Dark Web Notebook reports is probably going to keep its eye on the real journalistic outfit Buzzfeed. I don’t know much about “real” journalism, but my hunch is that if Palantir’s stakeholders find the Buzzfeed write up coverage interesting, some of those folks might spill their Philz coffee.

The other point is that the New York Police Department may find questions about its contractual dealings a bit of distraction from the quotidian tasks the force faces each day. I would not characterize “real” journalists asking questions “annoying,” but I would hazard the phrase “time consuming” or the word “distracting.”

image

“You want me to believe that?” asks Max, a skeptical show dog who knows that some owners will do anything to win.

The point of the “Fight Brewing” write up strikes me as a story designed to suggest that Palantir Technologies may be showing some signs of stress. When I read the story, I thought of the news which swirled around some of the defunct enterprise search companies when one of their client engagements went south. Vendors hit with these situations can do little but ride out the storm.

Hey, enterprise search was routinely oversold. When a system was up and running, the results were usually similar to the results generated by the previous “solution to all your information problems.” The search engineers who coded the systems knew that overpromising and under delivering were highly probable once the on switch was flipped. But the sales professional were going to say what was necessary to close the deal. In fact, most of the fancy promises about an enterprise search system set the company up for failure.

Is that what’s going on in the NYPD-Palantir “showdown”? To wit:

Palantir explained the system’s functions and outputs. The NYPD signed on. Then when the system was installed, additional work was needed to make the Palantir system meet the expectations set by the Palantir sales engineers.

The “Fight Brewing” story says:

The NYPD quietly began work last summer on its replacement data system, and in February it announced internally that it would cancel its Palantir contract and switch to the new system by the beginning of July, according to three people familiar with the matter. The new system, named Cobalt, is a group of IBM products tied together with NYPD-created software. The police department believes Cobalt is cheaper and more intuitive than Palantir, and prizes the greater degree of control it has over this system.

Keep in mind that I, before I retired in 2013, had been an adviser to the original i2 Group Ltd., the company which created in my opinion the analytic and visualization method which defines modern cyber eDiscovery in the 1990s.

The notion that IBM, which now owns i2’s Analyst’s Notebook, is working hard to close deals in key Palantir accounts from what I have heard in the general store in Harrod’s Creek.

I don’t have to go much farther than my own experience to get a sense that the “fight” may be a manifestation of how the world works when it comes to making sales for systems like Palantir’s Gotham or IBM’s i2. In my work career I have seen some interesting jabs and punches thrown to close a deal.

The NYPD, like any organization, wants systems which work and represent good value. Incumbent vendors have to find a way to retain a customer. Competitors have to find a way to get a licensee of one product to switch to a different product.

I noted this statement in the “Fight Brewing” story:

Palantir has struggled to expand its work with the police force, the emails show. As of March and April 2015, Palantir had had “little exposure to the top brass,” and although it wanted to add more business, “the door there clearly still remains closed given the larger political environment,” staffers wrote in emails. A staffer at one point invoked a phrase popularized by Thiel, author of Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, saying that Palantir still needed to get “from 0->1 at NYPD.”

Now how many police forces in the US can afford a comprehensive cyber eDiscovery system like Palantir Gotham or IBM Analyst’s Notebook? This is an important point because the number of potential customers is quite small. For example, after NY, LA, Chicago, Miami, and maybe three or four other cities, the sales professional runs out of viable prospects. How many counties can foot the bill for the software, the consultants, and the people required to tag and analyze the data? The number is modest. How many US states can afford the investment in high end cyber eDiscovery software? Again, the number is small, and you can count out Illinois because getting bills paid is an interesting challenge. The same market size problem exists for US government entities.

Read more

eDiscovery to Get a Fillip with DISCO

June 23, 2017

A legal technology company has unveiled the next generation AI platform that will reduce time, efforts and money spent by law firms and large corporations on mundane legal discovery work. Named DISCO, the program was in beta phase for two years.

PR distribution platform BusinessWire in a release titled DISCO Launches Artificial Intelligence Platform for Legal Technology quotes:

While there will be many applications for DISCO AI, initially the focus is to dramatically reduce the time, burden, and cost of identifying evidence in legal document review — a process known as eDiscovery.

Many companies have attempted to automate the process of eDiscovery, the success rates, however, have been far from encouraging. Apart from disrupting the legal industry, automated processes like the ones offered by DISCO will render many people in the industry jobless. AI creators, however, say that their intention is to speed up the process and reduce costs to organizations. But again, as technology advances, job losses are inevitable.

Vishal Ingole,  June 23, 2017

X1 Hits a Familiar Marketing Chord

July 27, 2016

I had the job of reviewing some of the 100 eDiscovery systems on offer today. I noted an interesting semantic thrust in “Recent Court Decisions, Key Industry Report Reveal Broken eDiscovery Collection Processes.”

X1 states:

What is needed is an effective, scalable and systemized ESI collection process that makes enterprise eDiscovery collection much more feasible. More advanced enterprise class technology, such as X1 Distributed Discovery, can accomplish system-wide searches that are narrowly tailored to collect only potentially relevant information in a legally defensible manner. This process is better, faster and dramatically less expensive than other methods currently employed.

I highlighted the point that targeted search and collection  can reduce the costs of certain legal processes. Recommind made, prior to its acquisition  by OpenText, similar statements about cost reduction.

It strikes me that the number of 90 percent cost reduction begs for some hard data. Also, with so many eDiscovery firms  competing for law firms’ business, is this once lucrative niche in a race toward Amazon- and Walmart-type pricing?

Perhaps there are several issues involved with the problem lawyers have when using eDiscovery systems? These may be:

  • Unrealistic expectations for an eDiscovery system. Google does one thing; eDiscovery does another.
  • Sticker shock. Despite the low cost of a license fee for a cloud service, there are other costs. These range from customer and engineering support to the need to pay for resources that cost money without doing much to alert the customer that a threshold has been crossed. Taxi meter and old school AT&T network pricing may dampen some eDiscovery licensees’ enthusiasm
  • Federating content from multiple sources sounds wonderful. In my experience, what does one do about exception documents? What do eDiscovery systems “miss”?

As the financial pressure mounts on many law firms, cost controls are likely to rework how these companies do business. The impact on “search” vendors now in the eDiscovery sector may find themselves facing the type of financial realities which caused Recommind to reinvent its future as a company.

Stephen E Arnold, July 27, 2016

ZyLab Places eDiscovery in the Cloud

June 23, 2016

Through their Press Room site, ZyLab announces, “Zylab Introduces eDiscovery as a Service.” Billed as a cost-saving alternative to in-house solutions, the new platform allows users to select and pay for only the services they need through a monthly subscription. The press-release tells us:

“ZyLAB today announces that its eDiscovery solutions are now also delivered via the Internet in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model in EMEA and AP via a managed service provider model. ZyLAB’s eDiscovery as a Service is introduced as the cost-effective alternative for organizations that do not have the time or IT resources to bring an eDiscovery solution in house. …

“With ZyLAB’s eDiscovery as a Service every type of company, in every industry can now easily scope the level of system they require. ZyLAB’s services span the entire Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) so a company can select the precise services that meet the needs of their current matter. The Service Level Agreement (SLA) will outline those selections and guarantee the availability of the data, ZyLAB’s software, and ongoing maintenance from ZyLAB’s Professional Services consultants.”

We are assured ZyLab’s SaaS solutions are of the same caliber as their on-premises solutions.  This approach can save a lot of time and hassle, especially for companies without a dedicated IT department. The write-up notes there are no long-term contracts or volume constraints involved,

and, of course, no new hardware to buy. If a company is willing to trust their data to a third party’s security measures, this could be a cost-effective way to manage eDiscovery.

Of course, if you were to trust anyone with your sensitive data, ZyLab’s record makes them a good choice. In fact, the company has been supplying eDiscovery and Information Government tech to prominent organizations for over three decades now. Large corporations, government organizations, regulatory agencies, and law firms around the world rely on their eDiscovery platform. The company was founded in 1983, with the release of the first full-text retrieval software for the PC. It’s eDiscovery/ Information Management platform was released in 2010.

 

Cynthia Murrell, June 23, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Axcelerate Focuses on Control and Visibility

June 13, 2016

The article on CMSWire titled Recommind Adds Muscle to Cloud e-Discovery relates the upgrades to the Axcelerate e-Discovery platform from Recommind. The muscle referred to in the article title is the new Efficiency Scoring feature offered to increase e-discovery review process transparency by tracking efficiency and facilitating a consistent assessment. The article explains,

“Axcelerate Cloud is built on Recommind’s interactive business intelligence layer to give legal professionals a depth of insight into the e-discovery process that Recommind says they have previously lacked. Behind all the talk of agility and visibility, there is one goal here: control. The company hopes this release allays the fears of legal firms, who traditionally have been reluctant to use cloud-based software for fear of compromising data.”

Hal Marcus, Director of Product Marketing at Recommind, suggested that in spite of early hesitancy by legal professional to embrace the cloud, current legal teams are more open to the possibilities available through consolidation of discovery requirements in the cloud. According to research, there are no enterprise legal departments without cloud-based legal resources related to contract management, billing, or e-discovery. Axcelerate Cloud aims to promote visibility into discovery practices to address the major concern among legal professionals: insufficient insight and transparency.

 

 

Chelsea Kerwin, June 13, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Extensive Cultural Resources Available at Europeana Collections

May 17, 2016

Check out this valuable cultural archive, highlighted by Open Culture in the piece, “Discover Europeana Collections, a Portal of 48 Million Free Artworks, Books, Videos, Artifacts & Sounds from across Europe.” Writer Josh Jones is clearly excited about the Internet’s ability to place information and artifacts at our fingertips, and he cites the Europeana Collections as the most extensive archive he’s discovered yet. He tells us the works are:

“… sourced from well over 100 institutions such as The European Library, Europhoto, the National Library of Finland, University College Dublin, Museo Galileo, and many, many more, including contributions from the public at large. Where does one begin?

“In such an enormous warehouse of cultural history, one could begin anywhere and in an instant come across something of interest, such as the the stunning collection of Art Nouveau posters like that fine example at the top, ‘Cercle Artstique de Schaerbeek,’ by Henri Privat-Livemont (from the Plandiura Collection, courtesy of Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalynya, Barcelona). One might enter any one of the available interactive lessons and courses on the history of World War I or visit some of the many exhibits on the period, with letters, diaries, photographs, films, official documents, and war propaganda. One might stop by the virtual exhibit, ‘Photography on a Silver Plate,’ a fascinating history of the medium from 1839-1860, or ‘Recording and Playing Machines,’ a history of exactly what it sounds like, or a gallery of the work of Swiss painter Jean Antoine Linck. All of the artifacts have source and licensing information clearly indicated.”

Jones mentions the archive might be considered “endless,” since content is being added faster than anyone could hope to keep up with.  While such a wealth of information and images could easily overwhelm a visitor, he advises us to look at it as an opportunity for discovery. We concur.

 

Cynthia Murrell, May 17, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Recommind Enables Easier Oversight into E-Discovery for Legal Industry

February 19, 2016

A recent article, entitled Recommind Adds Muscle to Cloud e-Discovery from CMS Wire, highlights an upgrade to Recommind’s Axcelerate e-discovery platform. This information intelligence and governance provider for the legal industry has upped their offering by adding a new efficiency scoring feature to enable “extensive visibility into the overall e-discovery review process.” Recommind make the updated based on polling their clients and finding 80 percent do not have oversight in regards to the technological competency of their outside counsel:

“Citing the same survey, he added that 72 percent of respondents pointed to insufficient visibility into the discovery practices of their outside counsel — legal professionals working with them but outside the firm — as a major concern. Axcelerate Cloud also eliminates the cost unpredictability that arises with traditional hosting charges with cloud-based e-discovery tools providers and the infrastructure maintenance required for on-premises solutions.”

When insights from big data is what a company is after, stronger cloud-based functionality is often the first step. Reminds us of enterprise search firm Autonomy which was eventually sold to HP. What will be next for Recommind?

 

Megan Feil, February 19, 2016

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

The History of ZyLab

February 10, 2016

Big data was a popular buzzword a few years ago, making it seem that it was a brand new innovation.  The eDiscovery process, however, has been around for several decades, but recent technology advancements have allowed it to take off and be implemented in more industrial fields.  While many big data startups have sprung up, ZyLab-a leading innovator in the eDiscovery and information governance-started in its big data venture in 1983.   ZyLab created a timeline detailing its history called, “ZyLab’s Timeline Of Technical Ingenuity.”

Even though ZyLab was founded in 1983 and introduced the ZyIndex, its big data products did not really take off until the 1990s when personal computers became an indispensable industry tool.  In 1995, ZyLab made history by being used in the OJ Simpson and Uni-bomber investigations.  Three years later it introduced text search in images, which is now a standard search feature for all search engines.

Things really began to take off for ZyLab in the 2000s as technology advanced to the point where it became easier for companies to create and store data as well as beginning the start of masses of unstructured data.  Advanced text analytics were added in 2005 and ZyLab made history again by becoming the standard for United Nations War Crime Tribunals.

During 2008 and later years, ZyLab’s milestones were more technological, such as creating the Zylmage SharePoint connector and Google Web search engine integration, the introduction of the ZyLab Information Management Platform, first to offer integrated machine translation in eDiscovery, adding audio search, and incorporating true native visual search and categorization.

ZyLab continues to make historical as well as market innovations for eDiscovery and big data.

 

Whitney Grace, February 10, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

The Google Cultural Institute Is a Digital Museum

December 8, 2015

Museums are the cultural epicenters of the human race, because the house the highest achievements of art, science, history, and more.  The best museums in the world are located in the populous cities and they house price works of art that represent the best of what humanity has to offer.  The only problem about these museums is that they are in a stationary location and unless you have the luck to travel, you can’t see these fabulous works in person.

While books have often served as the gateway museums’ collection, it is not the same as seeing an object or exhibit in real life.  The Internet with continuously evolving photographic and video technology have replicated museums’ collection as life like as possible without having to leave your home.  The only problem with these digital collections are limited to what is within a museums’ archives, but what would happen if an organization collected all these artifacts in one place like a social networking Web site?

Google has done something extraordinary by creating the Google Cultural Institute.  The Google Cultural Institute is part digital archive, part museum, part Pinterest, and part encyclopedia.    It is described as:

“Discover exhibits and collections from museums and archives all around the world. Explore cultural treasures in extraordinary detail, from hidden gems to masterpieces.”

Users can browse collections of art, history, and science ranging from classical works to street art to the Holocaust and World War I.  The Google Cultural Institute presents information via slideshows with captions.  Collections are divided by subject and content as well as by the museum where the collections originate.  Using Google Street View users can also view the very place where the collections are stored.  Users can also make their own collections and share them like on Pinterest.

This is an amazing step towards bringing museums into the next step of their own evolution as well as allowing people who might not have the chance to access them see the collections.  The only recommendation is that it would be nice if they put more advertising into the Google Cultural Institute so that people actually know it exists.

 
Whitney Grace, December 8, 2015
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Bar Exam Brouhaha

September 7, 2015

We cannot resist sharing this article with you, though it is only tangentially related to search; perhaps it has implications for the field of eDiscovery. Bloomberg Business asks and answers: “Are Lawyers Getting Dumber? Yes, Says the Woman who Runs the Bar Exam.”

Apparently, scores from the 2014 bar exam dropped significantly across the country compared to those of the previous year. Officials at the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), which administers the test, insist they carefully checked their procedures and found no problems on their end. They insist the fault lies squarely with that year’s crop of law school graduates, not with testing methods. Erica Moeser, head of the NCBE, penned a letter to law school officials informing them of the poor results, and advising they take steps to improve their students’ outcomes. To put it mildly, this did not go well with college administrators, who point out Moeser herself never passed the bar because she practices in Wisconsin, the only state in which the exam is not required to practice law.

So, who is right? Writer Natalie Kitroeff points out this salient information:

“Whether or not the profession is in crisis—a perennial lament—there’s no question that American legal education is in the midst of an unprecedented slump. In 2015 fewer people applied to law school than at any point in the last 30 years. Law schools are seeing enrollments plummet and have tried to keep their campuses alive by admitting students with worse credentials. That may force some law firms and consumers to rely on lawyers of a lower caliber, industry watchers say, but the fight will ultimately be most painful for the middling students, who are promised a shot at a legal career but in reality face long odds of becoming lawyers.”

The 2015 bar exam results could provide some clarification, but those won’t start coming out until sometime in September. See the article for much more information on Moeser, the NCBE, the bar exam itself, and the state of legal education today. Makers of eDiscovery software may want to beef up their idiot-proofing measures as much as possible, just to be safe.

Cynthia Murrell, September 7, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Next Page »

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta