FPI / September 16, 2019
A Silicon Valley data firm is pushing back against an attempt by the Left at blacklisting, a columnist noted.
“Palantir, a data mining and human intelligence firm, is fighting Silicon Valley activists angered over its work with ICE and the Department of Homeland Security, even while several other firms with bigger immigration contracts are not being targeted,” the Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard wrote on Sept. 13.
Palantir is co-founded by Peter Thiel, a fundraiser and supporter of President Donald Trump. In recent months, several companies with ties to the president have been targeted for blacklisting and protests by leftists.
After seven years of support, Palantir was removed as a Diamond Sponsor of the Grace Hopper Celebration, the world’s largest conference for women in technology.
“The group blamed Palantir’s work for ICE, but did not push away other major IT contractors, such as Microsoft and Raytheon, that work with ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” Bedard wrote.
The women at Palantir responded with a letter to the conference organizer, AnitaB.org.
In the letter, they said: “Every day, our work at Homeland Security Investigations at ICE helps combat human trafficking, locate terrorists, and convict drugs and arms traffickers. Your decision to dissociate Palantir’s name from Grace Hopper sends a message to women in tech that we should turn away from these critical yet complex problems, rather than engage in the hard work of solving them. We as co-signers openly disagree on many issues, but we continue to engage, rather than remove divergent views from the discussion. Your actions foreclose the possibility that thoughtful debate among people with differing views might produce better answers and a brighter future for society.”
The letter continued: “For seven years, our organizations have been partners with a shared commitment to increasing representation in technology. You chose to end our relationship with an inaccurate statement, without engaging us in a robust dialogue or verifying facts, and without applying the same standard to other companies working with ICE that you’ve allowed to remain Diamond Sponsors (and that employ some of your board members).”
Bedard noted that “the conference kept other sponsors that hold millions of dollars of contracts with ICE and Customs and Border Protection, including Northrop Grumman, Deloitte, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, McKinsey and Company, Accenture, and Raytheon.”
Palantir chief executive Alex Karp recently wrote in The Washington Post that his company is being singled out by Silicon Valley activists for its immigration work:
“I am deeply sympathetic to the people who are concerned about the use of software platforms in immigration policy. Every week or so, a small group of them holds a rally outside our office. What is worrisome is not their protests. What is worrisome is that some Silicon Valley companies are taking the power to decide these issues away from elected officials and judges and giving it to themselves — a deeply unrepresentative group of executives living in an elite bubble in a corner of the country,” Karp wrote.
The Left’s blacklisting movement was ripped last week by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz who criticized 145 corporate executives calling for a gun sales ban.
“I don’t think it is a positive thing to see big corporations shifting their focus from the customers, actually doing what they were created to do, into trying to become political players on divisive social issues,” Cruz said.
Free Press International