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Peter Thiel's Palantir could be a big beneficiary of President Trump's push to crack down un-documented immigrants.
The company is developing a system called Investigative Case Management, or ICM, to help support Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigations, as first reported by The Intercept.
The system was approved in 2014, under the Obama administration, through a $41 million dollar contract awarded to the data mining firm by the Department of Homeland Security, of which ICE is a part. ICM allows investigators to build profiles by pulling data from other agencies, such as the Transportation Security Administration (also part of Homeland Security). In light of the Trump administration's recent executive orders on immigration, the program could also be used to carry out those policies.
The program puts Palantir co-founder and Trump advisor Peter Thiel even more at odds with other tech leaders, many of whom have been vocal in their opposition to Trump's immigration policies. Palantir CEO Alex Karp was also seen at meetings with the then-President-elect back in November.
Under the program, outlined in publicly available documents, a suspect profile can include personal biographical information, including their address, phone records, social media posts, biometrics, birthmarks and tattoos, and can also track a suspect's location.
The ICM program can also be used by the Enforcement and Removal Office of ICE, which handles deportations.
ICM will reportedly be ready in the fall. And the ACLU is concerned about how the Trump administration could use the program to power its immigration enforcement programs.
Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst with the ACLU, says, "If President Trump's massive round-ups of undocumented immigrants are going to happen, these are the databases that are going to be used and there are going to be very powerful databases. I think that Americans have always been suspicious of government power and when the government gains tools that are so powerful and can be used not just against undocumented immigrants but against regular Americans potentially – that's something that raises a lot of eyebrows."
Palantir declined to comment.