With Palantir Technologies Inc. prepared to go public this week through a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange, Amnesty International has released a report condemning the data-mining firm over “human rights concerns” raised by its contracts with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
Titled Failing to Do Right: The Urgent Need for Palantir to Respect Human Rights, the report, which was released on Monday, concludes that Palantir is “failing to conduct human rights due diligence around its contracts with ICE,” a press release from Amnesty states.
As a result, the organization states, the company, which was co-founded by Peter Thiel, runs a “high risk” of “contributing to human rights violations of asylum-seekers and migrants through the ways the company’s technology facilitates ICE operations.”
“Palantir touts its ethical commitments, saying it will never work with regimes that abuse human rights abroad. This is deeply ironic, given the company’s willingness stateside to work directly with ICE, which has used its technology to execute harmful policies that target migrants and asylum-seekers,” Michael Kleinman, the director of Amnesty International’s Silicon Valley Initiative said in a statement.
Amnesty’s warning comes after years of opposition to Palantir’s continued decision to work with ICE.
In 2017, Amnesty noted, Palantir technology helped see the arrests of parents and caregivers of unaccompanied children, which it said led to detentions, threatening children’s welfare.
Palantir technology has further been used to help ICE execute targeted operations, including the widely reported mass raids that saw hundreds of workers arrested in Mississippi in August 2019, the organization said.
“Palantir’s ICM and FALCON technology facilitated these operations by enabling DHS/ICE to identify, share information on, investigate, and track migrants and asylum-seekers to effect arrests and workplace raids,” Amnesty asserted.
With Amnesty calling on Palantir to prevent its technology from being used to potentially help facilitate human rights violations, Kleinman said Americans should recognize the data-mining firm for “what it is”.
“We could close our eyes and pretend that contrary to all the evidence, Palantir is a rights-respecting company or we can call this façade what it is: another company placing profit over people, no matter the human cost,” Kleinman said.
On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Palantir is expected to be valued at nearly $22 billion in its Wall Street debut.
Citing sources, the newspaper reported that bankers for Palantir had told investors that shares could start trading at around $10 each.