Palan­tir blasts ‘Sil­i­con Val­ley elite’ as it files to go pub­lic

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Technology Intelligen­ce - By Margi Mur­phy in San Fran­cisco

THE con­tro­ver­sial data com­pany Palan­tir has at­tacked what it called “the en­gi­neer­ing elite of Sil­i­con Val­ley” as it de­fended its work for the US gov­ern­ment in an ex­tra­or­di­nary US fil­ing.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Alex Karp said Palan­tir will con­tinue to work on un­pop­u­lar mil­i­tary and in­tel­li­gence projects be­cause it had “cho­sen sides” and will stand by them “when it is con­ve­nient, and when it is not” in an in­vestor let­ter.

Palan­tir, whose tech­nol­ogy was used to help track down Osama bin Laden and has been used by the NHS in its re­sponse to coro­n­avirus, has filed to go pub­lic in what will be one of the year’s big­gest flota­tions. The 16-year-old data an­a­lyt­ics com­pany re­vealed losses of $580m (£434m) last year in doc­u­ments filed to the mar­ket reg­u­la­tor.

Palan­tir, co-founded by Peter Thiel, a Don­ald Trump donor, has been crit­i­cised for its work with the US gov­ern­ment, which has included work for Im­mi­gra­tions and Cus­toms En­force­ment. Other tech com­pa­nies have turned down mil­i­tary con­tracts or seen em­ploy­ees protest at their work.

“Our so­ci­ety has ef­fec­tively out­sourced the build­ing of soft­ware that makes our world pos­si­ble to a small group of en­gi­neers in an iso­lated cor­ner of the coun­try,” Mr Karp wrote.

“The ques­tion is whether we also want to out­source the ad­ju­di­ca­tion of some of the most con­se­quen­tial moral and philo­soph­i­cal ques­tions of our time. The en­gi­neer­ing elite of Sil­i­con Val­ley may know more than most about build­ing soft­ware. But they do not know more about how so­ci­ety should be or­gan­ised or what jus­tice re­quires.

“Our com­pany was founded in Sil­i­con Val­ley. But we seem to share fewer and fewer of the tech­nol­ogy sec­tor’s val­ues and com­mit­ments.”

He added that Palan­tir had turned down op­por­tu­ni­ties to sell data.

Alex Karp, chief ex­ec­u­tive, said Palan­tir shares ‘fewer and fewer of the tech­nol­ogy sec­tor’s val­ues’

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