Palantir Technologies, a data analytics company which was one of the authors of a fascinating slide deck outlining tactics governments and companies can use to fight Wikileaks, including cyberattacks and pressuring journalists, has issued a full apology by CEO Alex Karp. (Forbes)
The slides were leaked after Anonymous, the group of hackers who do damage on Wikileaks opponents and other targets, broke into security company HBGary’s servers and posted tons of data online. HBGary was another company behind the deck.
Palantir also says they will break off all contact with HBGary, and stresses that they make data analytics software, not cyberattack software, and says they have no plans to do so. Karp also personally apologizes to Glenn Greenwald, a Salon.com journalist who is a noted supporter of Wikileaks and who is specifically named by the document as a potential target.
On their website, Palantir talk about their “commitment to protecting privacy and civil liberties”; Palantir’s co-founder and chairman is entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist Peter Thiel, whose libertarian views are well known and who supports the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Here’s Karp’s statement in full:
As the Co-Founder and CEO of Palantir Technologies, I have directed the company to sever any and all contacts with HB Gary.
Palantir Technologies provides a software analytic platform for the analysis of data. We do not provide – nor do we have any plans to develop – offensive cyber capabilities. Palantir Technologies does not build software that is designed to allow private sector entities to obtain non-public information, engage in so-called “cyber attacks” or take other offensive measures. I have made clear in no uncertain terms that Palantir Technologies will not be involved in such activities. Moreover, we as a company, and I as an individual, always have been deeply involved in supporting progressive values and causes. We plan to continue these efforts in the future.
The right to free speech and the right to privacy are critical to a flourishing democracy. From its inception, Palantir Technologies has supported these ideals and demonstrated a commitment to building software that protects privacy and civil liberties. Furthermore, personally and on behalf of the entire company, I want to publicly apologise to progressive organisations in general, and Mr. Greenwald in particular, for any involvement that we may have had in these matters.