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Law enforcement organizations store information in numerous databases with no way to access, search, and view their information in one place. Officers and agents often have to access several different databases to compile information on a single suspect, collect relevant data on a location of interest, or investigate a criminal case. Sharing information requires cutting and pasting text or manually typing reports.
A law enforcement technology developed by Palantir Technologies features an intuitive, user-friendly interface that allows any agent, detective, or investigator to quickly access all available information in one place.
The data fusion platforms serve for integrating, managing, and securing any kind of data, at massive scale. On top of these platforms, there are applications for fully interactive, human-driven, machine-assisted analysis, according to their website.
The company provided software to a secretive New Orleans Police Department program that traced people’s ties to other gang members, outlined criminal histories, analyzed social media, and predicted the likelihood that individuals would commit violence or become a victim.
The program began in 2012 as a partnership between New Orleans Police and Palantir Technologies, a data-mining firm founded with seed money from the CIA’s venture capital firm. According to theverge.com, the initiative was essentially a predictive policing program that purports to predict which people are likely drivers or victims of violence.
Predictive policing technology has proven highly controversial wherever it is implemented, but in New Orleans, the program escaped public notice, partly because Palantir established it as a philanthropic relationship with the city.
More than half a decade after the partnership with New Orleans began, Palantir has patented at least one crime-forecasting system and has sold similar software to foreign intelligence services for predicting the likelihood of individuals to commit terrorism.
The prediction model in New Orleans used an intelligence technique called social network analysis (or SNA) to draw connections between people, places, cars, weapons, addresses, social media posts, and other indicia in previously siloed databases. After entering a query term — like a partial license plate, nickname, address, phone number, or social media handle or post — the analyst would review the information scraped by the software and determine which individuals are at the greatest risk of either committing violence or becoming a victim, based on their connection to known victims or assailants.
The data on individuals comes from information scraped from social media as well as NOPD criminal databases for ballistics, gangs, probation and parole information, jailhouse phone calls, calls for service, the central case management system, and the department’s repository of field interview cards. The latter database represents every documented encounter NOPD has with citizens, even those that don’t result in arrests.