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