From The New York Times:
As a start-up called Cambridge Analytica sought to harvest the Facebook data of tens of millions of Americans in summer 2014, the company received help from at least one employee at Palantir Technologies, a top Silicon Valley contractor to American spy agencies and the Pentagon.
It was a Palantir employee in London, working closely with the data scientists building Cambridge’s psychological profiling technology, who suggested the scientists create their own app — a mobile-phone-based personality quiz — to gain access to Facebook users’ friend networks, according to documents obtained by The New York Times.
Cambridge ultimately took a similar approach. By early summer, the company found a university researcher to harvest data using a personality questionnaire and Facebook app. The researcher scraped private data from over 50 million Facebook users — and Cambridge Analytica went into business selling so-called psychometric profiles of American voters, setting itself on a collision course with regulators and lawmakers in the United States and Britain.
And here is more from The Guardian:
In his testimony before the digital, culture, media and sport select committee, (Cambridge Analytica whistleblower) Wylie had claimed that they had several meetings with Palantir and that the firm had informal access to the Kogan data.
“There were senior Palantir employees that were also working on the Facebook data,” he said. “That was not an official contract between Palantir and CA, but there were Palantir staff who would come into the office and work on the data. And we would go and meet with Palantir staff at Palantir.”
Wylie said that Alexander Nix, the chief executive of SCL, was interested in Palantir’s work and that when he joined SCL, one of the first emails he received was asking him about Palantir.
Of course, Thiel’s company, Palantir, now claims that the employee was working “in an entirely personal capacity”, which is total B.S. — before today, they were claiming that there was zero contact between Palantir and Cambridge Analytica.
And by the way, guess who was an original investor in Facebook…Peter Thiel. This was a grand conspiracy.