July 8, 2013
We’ve been teased for weeks with tantalizing leaks about the NSA, its cohorts in corporate America, and their programs and technologies that capture, store, and mine vast amounts of our personal data obtained from the internet and telecommunications. Data is power. And money. It’s for our own good, we’re told incessantly.
There are also physical aspects, like video surveillance with facial-recognition technologies and smartphone detectors to let your favorite retail store know when you – in true name – are looking at their display. Then there’s a technology that surreptitiously captures practically everyone out on the street, combines that data with other data, and makes it available to government agencies.
Palantir Technologies is the quintessential Silicon Valley startup. Its website is graced with photos of purposefully goofy but smart-looking young people: a guy in shorts and flips flops, feet propped against the conference-room table; a guy cradling a pooch; a guy holding a fixed-gear bike; a girl resting a saddle on a fence…. “We’re all engineers,” it says. They hosted the Girl Geek Dinner #32. The kind of company that makes Silicon Valley great.