jm + palantir   3

The Violence of Algorithms: Why Big Data Is Only as Smart as Those Who Generate It
The modern state system is built on a bargain between governments and citizens. States provide collective social goods, and in turn, via a system of norms, institutions, regulations, and ethics to hold this power accountable, citizens give states legitimacy. This bargain created order and stability out of what was an increasingly chaotic global system. If algorithms represent a new ungoverned space, a hidden and potentially ever-evolving unknowable public good, then they are an affront to our democratic system, one that requires transparency and accountability in order to function. A node of power that exists outside of these bounds is a threat to the notion of collective governance itself. This, at its core, is a profoundly undemocratic notion—one that states will have to engage with seriously if they are going to remain relevant and legitimate to their digital citizenry who give them their power.
palantir  algorithms  big-data  government  democracy  transparency  accountability  analytics  surveillance  war  privacy  protest  rights 
june 2015 by jm
How A 'Deviant' Philosopher Built Palantir, A CIA-Funded Data-Mining Juggernaut - Forbes
Palantir -- the free-market state-surveillance data-retention nightmare. At the end of this slightly overenthusiastic puff piece we get to:
Katz-Lacabe wasn’t impressed. Palantir’s software, he points out, has no default time limits -- all information remains searchable for as long as it’s stored on the customer’s servers. And its auditing function? “I don’t think it means a damn thing,” he says. “Logs aren’t useful unless someone is looking at them.” [...]

What if Palantir’s audit logs -- its central safeguard against abuse -- are simply ignored? Karp responds that the logs are intended to be read by a third party. In the case of government agencies, he suggests an oversight body that reviews all surveillance -- an institution that is purely theoretical at the moment. “Something like this will exist,” Karp insists. “Societies will build it, precisely because the alternative is letting terrorism happen or losing all our liberties.”

Palantir’s critics, unsurprisingly, aren’t reassured by Karp’s hypothetical court. Electronic Privacy Information Center activist Amie Stepanovich calls Palantir “naive” to expect the government to start policing its own use of technology. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Lee Tien derides Karp’s argument that privacy safeguards can be added to surveillance systems after the fact. “You should think about what to do with the toxic waste while you’re building the nuclear power plant,” he argues, “not some day in the future.”
palantir  data-retention  privacy  surveillance  state  cia  forbes  andy-greenberg  eff  epic  snooping 
august 2013 by jm

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