- Activist groups have organized a series of protests across the US against Palantir this week over the company’s contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
- The groups staged a “good riddance” protest outside Palantir’s former Palo Alto office, as well as an “unwelcome” protest at Palantir’s new Denver headquarters, where it just moved.
- Palantir has received over $160 million in past contracts with ICE. The software company provides data-crunching tools that organize information on undocumented immigrants, and ICE has reportedly used Palantir technology to plan workplace raids and arrests.
- Palantir is currently preparing to go public, and it has acknowledged in public filings that activism could hurt its business by generating negative publicity.
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As Palantir prepares for its public direct listing later this month, activists are following the company across the US with a series of protests against its ties to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Pentagon, and other federal law enforcement agencies.
The protests were organized by Mijente, an immigration rights group that started the #NoTechForICE campaign to publicly shame Silicon Valley companies that do business with the agency. The group has pressured Palantir for years after publishing documents that show Palantir’s data-crunching software was used by ICE to manage information on undocumented people in order to plan arrests.
Protests began last week when activists staged a demonstration against Palantir outside the New York City offices of BlackRock, an asset management company that has invested in Palantir.
This week, activists planned several demonstrations staged around Palantir’s decision to move its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Denver. On Monday, Mijente organized a “good riddance” demonstration outside Palantir’s former Palo Alto headquarters, and an “unwelcome” protest was planned at its new Denver headquarters Tuesday night. A fourth protest outside Palantir’s New York City office is planned for Wednesday.
Palantir CEO Alex Karp has framed the company’s choice to move its headquarters as a response to “monoculture” in the largely liberal Silicon Valley. Palantir has faced multiple protests during its time in Silicon Valley, and employees in Palo Alto have previously spoken out against Palantir’s ICE contracts.
More recently, Mijente has encouraged college students studying tech to pledge not to work for Palantir, including at prominent tech feeder schools like Stanford.
“Alex Karp cites a culture of ‘intolerance’ in the Bay Area as his reason for moving headquarters. He’s right — Palo Alto has made clear that it won’t tolerate a company that profits off of anti-immigrant terror,” Mijente senior campaign organizer Jacinta Gonzalez said in a statement to Business Insider. “Five years ago Palantir was a top company for Stanford tech graduates, today 2,500 students across 30 campuses, including Stanford in Palo Alto, have pledged not to work for Palantir.”
Palantir sees the activism as a potential threat to its business. In its S-1 filing, the company wrote that criticisms from “political and social activists” as well as “unfavorable coverage in the media” could pose risks to its business, but added that “being perceived as yielding” to activists could hurt its ability to win government contracts.
“Palantir is filing to go public so executives like Karp can continue to profit off of deportations,” Gonzalez said in the statement. “Rather than running from accountability, Palantir should cancel their ICE contract to stop enabling the human rights abuses perpetrated by ICE.”
A Palantir spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Disclosure: Palantir Technologies CEO Alexander Karp is a member of Axel Springer’s shareholder committee. Axel Springer owns Insider Inc, Business Insider’s parent company.