Big Data is playing a big role in the government’s war on illegal immigrants.
Palantir, a real-time data analytics firm sometimes compared with Cambridge Analytica, has been working with the U.S. government’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division to process a variety of consumer data streams to identify and target individuals who have a propensity for being illegal immigrants.
While Palantir has long been known to work for government agencies, news of its role targeting illegal immigrants broke late last week when Vice’s technology publication Motherboard obtained a copy of Palantir’s top secret user manual for law-enforcement agencies.
Motherboard said it obtained the manual via a public records request and reveals how it has weaponized consumer data to combat illegal immigration, powering so-called “fusion centers” that collect, aggregate and process a variety of data to identify and target illegal immigrants.
That data includes credit-card and banking information, internet and email service providers, health and education records, hospitality and lodging data, as well as a variety of local, state and federal permits, licenses and records.
The article republishes graphic flowcharts showing how law enforcement can utilize the data to “search for person records,” “finding persons related to a vehicle,” and other means.
“Palantir is a tech company that’s fueling the Trump administration’s deportation machine,” Free Press Action (FPA), an advocacy group said in a letter sent to members of the press late last week, calling for a boycott of the company.
FPA added Palantir’s software enabled ICE to “arrest at least 443 people” during a three-month period.