Palantir Technologies

Year founded: 2003

CEO: Alex Karp
Police car w surveillance camera.
Gwendal Le Bec

What it is: Co-founded by Peter Thiel, the Gawker-killing, Trump-boosting cyber-libertarian boogeyman, and named for a corrupted spying device from Lord of the Rings, Palantir collects and analyzes data for government agencies, hedge funds, and pharma giants—data, you may not be surprised to learn, that is not always used for good.

One evil thing: Google pulled out of its Project Maven contract with the U.S. government in 2018 after workers argued that the artificial intelligence program could allow the Pentagon to better target drone strikes. Palantir—whose CEO has repeatedly stressed that “we’re proud that we’re working with the U.S. government“ and that lofty decisions about the limits of surveillance tech should be made on Capitol Hill, not in Silicon Valley—happily snapped up the job.

Our respondents say: “I list Palantir primarily because of the company’s unapologetic technical support of menacing deportation practices by the Trump administration.” —Ryan Calo, University of Washington School of Law

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