Links for 2018-04-20

  • Palantir Knows Everything About You

    This is so fucking dystopian:

    Operation Laser has made L.A. cops more surgical — and, according to community activists, unrelenting. Once targets are enmeshed in a [Palantir] spidergram, they’re stuck. Manuel Rios, 22, lives in the back of his grandmother’s house at the top of a hill in East L.A., in the heart of the city’s gang area. […] He grew up surrounded by friends who joined Eastside 18, the local affiliate of the 18th Street gang, one of the largest criminal syndicates in Southern California. Rios says he was never “jumped in”—initiated into 18. He spent years addicted to crystal meth and was once arrested for possession of a handgun and sentenced to probation. But except for a stint in county jail for a burglary arrest inside a city rec center, he’s avoided further trouble and says he kicked his meth habit last year. In 2016, Rios was sitting in a parked car with an Eastside 18 friend when a police car pulled up. His buddy ran, pursued by the cops, but Rios stayed put. “Why should I run? I’m not a gang member,” he says over steak and eggs at the IHOP near his home. The police returned and handcuffed him. One of them took his picture with a cellphone. “Welcome to the gang database!” the officer said. Since then he’s been stopped more than a dozen times, he says, and told that if he doesn’t like it he should move. He has nowhere to go. His girlfriend just had a baby girl, and he wants to be around for them. “They say you’re in the system, you can’t lie to us,” he says. “I tell them, ‘How can I be in the hood if I haven’t got jumped in? Can’t you guys tell people who bang and who don’t?’ They go by their facts, not the real facts.” The police, on autopilot with Palantir, are driving Rios toward his gang friends, not away from them, worries Mariella Saba, a neighbor and community organizer who helped him get off meth. When whole communities like East L.A. are algorithmically scraped for pre-crime suspects, data is destiny, says Saba. “These are systemic processes. When people are constantly harassed in a gang context, it pushes them to join. They internalize being told they’re bad.”

    (tags: palantir surveillance privacy precrime spidergrams future la gangs justice algorithms data-protection data-privacy policing harrassment)

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One Comment

  1. Nix
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 13:38 | Permalink

    It might almost be better if it really did know everything about you. As that excerpt makes clear, Palantir does not know everything about you: it knows a bit about your friends, assumes you’re just like them, and uses guilt by association to damn you with their sins, without possibility of appeal. What a wonderful idea.