Thursday, March 22, 2018

Predictive policing: (1) Palantir: Disturbing revelations of secrecy and disclosure violations from New Orleans - made public thanks to excellent investigative reporting by The Verge: The Verge in a story headed: "New Orleans ends its Palantir predictive policing program: "The partnership ran for six years without public knowledge."..."There is also potential legal fallout from the revelation of New Orleans’ partnership with Palantir. Several defense attorneys interviewed by The Verge, including lawyers who represented people accused of membership in gangs that, according to documents and interviews, were identified at least in part through the use of Palantir software, said they had never heard of the partnership nor seen any discovery evidence referencing Palantir’s use by the NOPD."

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:This is an extraordinary piece of investigative journalism by 'The Verge' - with support from the Nation's investigative fund - involving an allegedly secret predictive policing program developed by the data-mining giant Palantir (so secret that city councilors claim to be unaware of it), and allegations of violations of failures to make disclosure of information obtained through the system to persons facing criminal charges in New Orlean's courts. Great journalism. One more serious concern over the ever-increasing use of predictive policing software by police.

Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.


PASSAGE OF THE DAY:  "Yesterday, Orleans Criminal District Court Judge Camille Buras agreed to hear a motion from Kentrell Hickerson challenging his racketeering and drug conspiracy convictions. Hickerson’s attorney, Kevin Vogeltanz, filed his motion with the court on March 8th, citing the nondisclosure of any relevant intelligence from Palantir about his client’s alleged involvement in the 3NG street gang as a potential violation of Hickerson’s rights. Under the Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland, defendants have the right to procure any and all potentially exculpatory evidence assembled against them by law enforcement. After the hearing, Orleans Parish District Attorney spokesperson Ken Daley told The New Orleans Advocate that Hickerson was grasping at straws. “The NOPD’s Palantir software played no role whatsoever in Mr. Hickerson’s indictment and prosecution. Furthermore, any claim that the NOPD’s Palantir program contained exculpatory evidence to Mr. Hickerson’s defense is without merit,” Daley told the paper. However, according to Vogeltanz, during the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Alex Calenda admitted that he was an “end user” of NOPD’s Palantir system. During an interview with The Verge, former New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas said Palantir was used to identify potential members of the 3NG, the 39ers, and the 110ers gangs in several prominent racketeering cases. On April 3rd, there will be a status hearing where Judge Buras will rule on whether or not to grant Vogeltanz’s motion."