Palantir, Oracle, Amazon urged to reject creation of Muslim registry

Big tech companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook have vowed not to help the U.S. government create a Muslim registry, a possibility under the incoming presidential administration of Donald Trump.

Now the heat is on other big tech companies to disavow involvement with a possible registry. The Tech Workers Coalition is protesting outside Palantir’s headquarters in Palo Alto right now. And advocacy group Credo is urging Oracle and Amazon to do the same.

Palantir co-founders Thiel and Karp have ties to Trump. Thiel was Trump’s highest-profile supporter from the tech world; Karp was the only CEO of a non-public company who was present at Trump’s tech summit last month.

Palantir co-founder Peter Thiel told the New York Times last week that “we would not do that” when asked about whether the data-mining company would help build a Muslim registry. In addition, CEO Alex Karp told Forbes last week that the company has not been asked to build such a registry, and that “we wouldn’t do it.”

But public records show that Palantir already helps the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency track and assess immigrants and other travelers, according to reports in December. On its website, the Tech Workers Coalition calls a Palantir-powered government program called the Analytical Framework for Intelligence a “precursor” to a possible Muslim registry. Another program called Falcon allows immigration officials to analyze data including family relationships, immigration history and criminal records.

The group protested outside Palantir Wednesday morning in the rain.

Meanwhile, Credo rolled out new online ads Wednesday urging tech giants Oracle and Amazon, plus consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, to join the other big companies that have already publicly said they will not help create a Muslim registry. Credo says the ads target employees of the three companies.

“Tech companies have to choose a side,” Heidi Hass, Credo senior campaign manager, said in a news release. “Will they stand against Trump’s hate or provide the technology and data to enable it?”

“We decline comment,” an Oracle spokeswoman reached by SiliconBeat said Wednesday.

Safra Catz, Oracle co-CEO, was named to Trump’s transition team last month, a day after she was among the executives who attended Trump’s tech summit.

New: Amazon told SiliconBeat Thursday that it will not support such a registry. (End new)

Trump has made conflicting statements about his commitment to building a Muslim registry. During his campaign, as he reacted to Islamic terrorism-related events, he called for a ban on Muslim immigrants entering the U.S. This week, his Cabinet nominees gave mostly non-committal answers to questions about “extreme vetting” of Muslims.

However, retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security, said, “I don’t agree with registering people based on ethnic or religion or anything like that” when pressed about the issue, according to the Washington Post.

 

Photo: People line up to have their identities verified before entering the Palantir cafeteria in Palo Alto, Calif., April 23, 2016. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

 

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