Remember the movie “Minority Report,” where Tom Cruise played the role of a cop in LAPD’s pre-crime unit. Using the premonitions of some pre-cogs they were going to predict if someone will commit a crime before it happens, and ultimately ended up with the question how moral it is to judge a criminal before the actual crime happened.
While it was just a movie that time, this nightmare of being punished for before committing the crime has just become true. Palantir, a CIA backed startup is all-powerful, yet a little-known tool that’s using the similar type of technology right under your nose.
Created in 2004 by PayPal’s billionaire co-founder Peter Thiel, Palantir’s defense systems consist of advanced biometrics and walls that are secure to the internet, radio waves, or phone signal. It has a data storage that can’t be accessed by merely sophisticated hacking, requiring digital pass codes held by dozens of independent parties, whose identities are protected by blockchain technology.
How does it work?
Palantir can predict what you will do next by watching everything you do. Starting from a potential terrorist suspect to corporate fraudsters, all of them are tracked by this tool. It has a great client list including the FBI, the CIA, and the Centre for Disease Control, the NSA, the Air Force, Special Operations Command, the Marine Corps, West Point and the IRS.
Marines used Palantir to upload DNA samples from remote locations and tap into information assembled from years of collecting fingerprints and DNA evidence, with almost immediate results. In Iraq, it allowed Pentagon to predict roadside bombs based on the patterns of former deployment.
The dark side
In “Minority Report,” we saw Cruise got framed because of the data alterations of his thought history. While it’s secure from hacking, predicting a crime just by someone’s though isn’t that logical. The person in a hoodie or the black guy in your neighborhood, who didn’t get the attention yesterday, suddenly fit the description for a home invasion. With this level of militarization, the law enforcement that took the vow to protect people, are putting them in trouble. And, you just can’t imprison someone just for thinking about committing a crime.