Big tech is making it easier for ICE to do its job.
Since the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was created in 2003, raids have taken place, but the growth in technology and outsourcing around immigration enforcement to places like Palantir have improved ICE’s methods.
Palantir was founded in 2004 by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. Palantir connects dots that migh have been missed by human analytics. According to a report by Bloomberg, the company quickly established itself through contracts with the Pentagon and CIA. These companies used the technology to comb through financial documents, flight reservations, phone records, and social media, then shows whatever linkages exist between the data.
Fast forward to today Palantir has become instrumental to law enforcement in the U.S.A.—including the ICE. According to a report by social justice organization Mijente, Palantir provides ICE with “mission critical services.”
But Palantir has been careful to distance itself from any role in the deportation of undocumented immigrants. It says it doesn’t work for the part of ice called ERO, which stands for Enforcement and Removal Operations but emails recently obtained by New York Public Radio show just how involved the company is in workplace raids, which is a growing phenomenon.
While few are familiar with Palantir, a well-known company that’s also making all of these technologically driven government raids possible is Amazon, whose cloud service and facial recognition technology Rekognition could, and in some cases are, used by law enforcement agencies.
In a request for comment, Amazon responded saying it would not disclose any organizations that might or might not be customers without consent due to company policy.