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Palantir has secretly been using New Orleans to test its predictive policing technology

By The Verge

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  • this is, literally, the plot of the anime psycho pass and it ended terribly.

  • A supreme investigative reporting effort from The Verge.

    Palantir has always been one of the more shadowy and secretive operations in the valley. Only making the news with questions about whether or not it will ever IPO.

    It is honestly not surprising that they would be carrying out such a program and only slightly surprising that there was significant government complicity. What’s the difference here? Using it on US citizens, not foreign terrorists.

    Predictive policing has a nice argument: stop

    A supreme investigative reporting effort from The Verge.

    Palantir has always been one of the more shadowy and secretive operations in the valley. Only making the news with questions about whether or not it will ever IPO.

    It is honestly not surprising that they would be carrying out such a program and only slightly surprising that there was significant government complicity. What’s the difference here? Using it on US citizens, not foreign terrorists.

    Predictive policing has a nice argument: stop crime before it happens. The reality is it’s just fancy profiling.

    Let’s break down the massive issues with this idea: 1) We know these types of algorithms tend to be bias 2) If this data is collected, it will be distorted and misused for the purposes of those collecting it 3) It is easy to see how this program is one step away from mass surveillance

    We are not an authoritarian state, but you wouldn’t know that looking at this.

  • Lots going on here.

    Ian is right: That The Verge broke this story is news in and of itself and speaks to how investigate journalism will happen in a digital-first era.

    It continues to be true that while secrets have their place, law enforcement isn’t one. Yes body cams, no secret Palantir.

    Then there is the question that didn’t really get well covered: Would this have been OK if we had known and what level of known matters? Do we need to know how the algo works or just that there is one? That’s

    Lots going on here.

    Ian is right: That The Verge broke this story is news in and of itself and speaks to how investigate journalism will happen in a digital-first era.

    It continues to be true that while secrets have their place, law enforcement isn’t one. Yes body cams, no secret Palantir.

    Then there is the question that didn’t really get well covered: Would this have been OK if we had known and what level of known matters? Do we need to know how the algo works or just that there is one? That’s the follow up article we really need - now that we do know, where is the line?

  • "As more departments and companies began experimenting with predictive policing, government-funded research cast doubts on its efficacy, and independent academics found it can have a disparate impact on poor communities of color. A 2016 study reverse-engineered PredPol’s algorithm and found that it replicated 'systemic bias' against over-policed communities of color and that historical crime data did not accurately predict future criminal activity."

  • It’s the dystopian vision of Philip K DIck’s Minority Report come to life

  • Agreed with Ian - one question we must keep asking is in the world of automation is “who’s writing the algorithms”? And if it’s mostly white males trained on security use cases... i think anyone can predict those results. Empathy, even in code, matters.

  • After reading this “Minority Report”-style sting operation in New Orleans, I’m going back to bed.

  • Psycho-Pass fans, say hi to your new friend Sibyl.

  • Predictive policing isn’t new (Chicago does it) but secrecy is a bad way to start and feeds local suspicions. Requires a sober discussion about the pros & cons of profiling.

  • Cue 1984 intro.

  • whoa.

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