IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

ICE Renews Controversial Palantir Software Contract

The Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement approved the renewal of software used to track migrants at the border, documents made public this week show.

(TNS) — A Palantir contract to provide technology to U.S. immigration authorities has been renewed for up to three years, according to a government document made public this week.

The Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement approved the renewal July 22, the document shows. How much the government is paying Palantir for the software, which is used to track migrants at the border, was redacted. However, selecting the redacted text in the PDF posted online shows the following total amount: $49,874,018.14. That’s about $16 million the first year, more than $14.7 million the second year and $14.8 million the third, plus “enhancement costs” of $2.4 million and $1.6 million for the second and third years, respectively, according to the redacted and selected text.

The contract, which was first awarded in 2014, had been set to expire next month. It calls for funding to continue using Palantir’s Gotham software, which is propriety and can only be maintained by the company. Citing the capabilities of Gotham’s Investigative Case Management system, the document states that the contracting officer could find no other comparable product.

Palantir has not returned a request for comment.

On Friday, dozens of protesters converged in front of Palantir’s headquarters in Palo Alto, urging the company to cancel its contract with ICE. That action followed one in July, which was attended by several hundred protesters.

Despite Palantir’s previous public statement that its technology is used only in criminal investigations, activists have pointed to documents showing that the company’s software is used in detainment and deportations. Activists have objected to what they say is inhumane treatment of migrants and the separation of families, and have tried to shame companies for their work with ICE.

On Tuesday, the Coalition to Close the Concentration Camps – Bay Area, an alliance of more than 20 migrant rights and activist organizations including Mijente, Tech Workers Coalition and Oakland Privacy, called the renewal of the contract a “shameless escalation” of “Palantir’s attack on immigrants.” The group, which said it would continue to speak out against another Palantir contract with ICE, called for an emergency protest at Palantir headquarters Friday. That contract for Palantir’s Falcon, a mobile app used during immigration raids, expires in November but can be renewed a couple more times for one year each.

Employees at other tech companies have objected to working with immigration authorities. Google workers recently urged the company not to do business with Customs and Border Protection.

(Staff writer Ethan Baron contributed to this report.)

©2019 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.