A group of FBI agents would have taken advantage of an alleged flaw in the Palantir program to gain access to the personal data of Griffith, who is currently the subject of a federal investigation.

Palantir Technologies, the US data analytics company chaired by billionaire Peter Thiel, has come to the center of the controversy after a report noted that a breach in the platform allegedly allowed FBI agents to explore the developer’s private data. Ethereum, Virgil Griffith, facing legal charges.

According to a New York Post report, Palantir’s code error appeared in a letter from prosecutors during the Manhattan federal court case against Griffith. The Ethereum Foundation researcher received charges last year with conspiracy for allegedly violating international sanctions by going to North Korea to speak at a cryptocurrency conference in 2019.

Prosecutors argue that Griffith had to explain how to use cryptocurrency to circumvent US sanctions; although he has pleaded not guilty. Now, the event could give a new twist to the crypto developers’ legal case, who would face up to 20 years in jail if found guilty.

FBI Takes Advantage of Software flaw to Explore the Accused’s Personal Data

The Palantir breach allowed unauthorized federal agents to explore data recovered from Griffith’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, which got confiscated through a federal search warrant in March 2020. Prosecutors wrote that at least four FBI officials, who are not working on the case, entered the data for more than a year, the report detailed.

A federal agent detailed to the court that an FBI analyst, during a separate investigation, got to identify communications between the defendant [Griffith] and the subject of that other investigation through searches on the platform.

The FBI employees involved told prosecutors that they did not recall using the alleged information in their investigations. For their part, Manhattan prosecutors indicated that they did not intend to use the information in his case against Griffith and ordered Palantir employees to delete the data.

Palantir is an artificial intelligence giant that supplies controversial data-filtering software to government agencies. The people behind the tool denied the claims and blamed the FBI for using the program unprofessionally.

The company, led by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, debuted last year with a valuation of $ 22 billion. He has several notable clients, including the CIA and IBM. However, it is not the first time that Palantir has experienced a controversy related to privacy abuse.

Some experts have pointed out that the tool allows the surveillance and analysis of data that could be exploited to violate people’s privacy. It also might promote corruption and political abuse. Among the experts, Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez requested an investigation on the program.

In the view of Albert Fox Cahn, founder of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, privacy and civil rights group, the recent event could suggest a bigger problem with the use of Palantir by US federal agents.

By: Jenson Nuñez


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