The New York Times | By Quentin Hardy | October 14, 2015 7:23 pm
Courtney Bowman is a member of the privacy and civil liberties group at Palantir Technologies. Palantir, a privately held tech company in Palo Alto, Calif., first became known through its work for many military, police and intelligence services in the United States and overseas.
Today, more than half of Palantir’s business is with private sector companies, which use it for activities as diverse as improving the efficiency of oil exploration and figuring out where to put the gum at a checkout stand. It also works with disaster relief agencies.
The software comes with an auditing capability, so it is possible to see who looked at what. It is not clear that this capability is always used, particularly by companies, but Palantir says that it is trying to figure out ways of preserving individual civil liberties in an age when computers are tracking everything.
Mr. Bowman, who has degrees in physics and philosophy from Stanford, is one of the authors of a book on designing computer systems to ensure privacy, and he spoke recently with The New York Times. The conversation has been condensed and edited.