Opponents of the Trump Administration’s approach to immigration and border security have just identified their primary targets in the U.S. tech industry, one of them in the Bay Area.
Super-secretive Palo Alto data analytics firm Palantir, and considerably secretive cloud-services and e-commerce titan Amazon, have become Public Enemies No. 1 and 2 to a coalition of groups opposing President Donald Trump’s immigration and border agenda.
Palantir and Seattle’s Amazon are fueling the administration’s “incarceration and deportation regime,” claims a new report commissioned by Latino-focused groups Mijente, the National Immigration Project, and the Immigrant Defense Project.
“Unchecked, these tech companies will continue to do the government’s bidding in developing the systems that target and punish en masse those it deems ‘undesirable’ — immigrants, people of color, the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated, activists, and others,” the report alleged.
Both companies help the government circumvent local efforts such as sanctuary cities — where local officials are mostly banned from helping immigration authorities — to curb the power of the feds, the report charged.
Amazon declined to comment on the claims in the report. Palantir did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Palantir, co-founded by polarizing Silicon Valley figure Peter Thiel, is building the case-management software for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, technology that “allows immigration agents to scour regional, local, state, and federal databases across the country, build profiles of immigrants and their friends and family based on both private and public information, and use those profiles to surveil, track, and ultimately deport immigrants,” the report alleged.
Amazon’s world-dominant cloud services unit hosts state and federal data systems “key to immigration enforcement,” including Palantir’s case-management system, and Amazon Web Services also sells cloud services to state law enforcement agencies that share information with the Department of Homeland Security, the report said.
The groups behind the report, and other opponents of Trump’s immigration and border agenda, have seized on companies’ federal contract work as a pressure point, seeking to enlist company employees and the public in opposing the firms’ work for the feds — and by extension, the work of the feds.
Also named and shamed in the report is an East Bay company, Forensic Logic of Walnut Creek, which owns COPLINK software, a tool intended to help authorities predict where and when crimes will happen, and even who might commit them.
Because the algorithm-driven policing software sold by Forensic Logic and Palantir is based on people’s past behaviors, they can create “racist feedback loops” leading to racial profiling and other forms of discrimination, the report claimed. Forensic Logic’s integrated LEAP Network and COPLINK have become the most-used corporate platform for police agencies to share information with the Department of Homeland Security, according to the report.
Network analysis done by such computer programs has also been used to target activists, the report said.
Forensic Logic, headed by a former U.S. Navy intelligence officer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.