Writing in The Guardian, Jacques Peretti has compiled an interesting summary of the technological capabilities and government-to-business relationships of Palantir, a secretive technology company focused on identifying patterns within large data sets and making them accessible to people without specialized training.
With sensors getting cheaper all the time, the tricky part of ubiquitous surveillance isn’t collecting the data. It’s making it intelligible and applicable. These kinds of powerful data linkage and analysis tools also undermine common-sense expectations and procedures for the protection of privacy. No human being might be able to look at a set of large supposedly-anonymized databases and pick out individuals, but it’s increasingly within the scope of what can be routinely done with computers.