Hesse state Palantir predictive policing ruled 'unconstitional'
Occurred: February 2023
Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Palantir is a CIA-backed software and big data analytics company that focuses on defence, policing, and health.
Palantir Gotham serves government, intelligence agencies, security and police forces, primarily in the USA. It is also increasingly used for predictive policing. One feature allows authorities to map networks of phone contacts.
In February 2023, the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled the use of Palantir surveillance software by police in Hesse and Hamburg was unconstitutional in a case bought by German civil rights NGO Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte (GFF).
The GFF had argued (in German) that Hesse and Hamburg had not made clear which sources the police could use for obtaining data or how much and on what grounds data mining could be conducted by law enforcement.
Hesse State Police had been using the so-called Hessendata platform, which is based on Gotham. Hessendata reportedly triangulates datasets from police and other databases, including social media, to enable the analysis of potential suspects.
Palantir has also been the subject of controversy in Denmark and the Netherlands over its potential for inaccuracy and ability to reinforce racial and ethnic bias.
Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte (2023). Erfolg für die Freiheitsrechte nach GFF-Verfahren: Bundesverfassungsgericht weist automatisierte Datenauswertung durch die Polizei in die Schranken
Privacy International (2020). All Roads lead to Palantir (pdf)
Federal Constitutional Court (2023). Legislation in Hesse and Hamburg regarding automated data analysis for the prevention of criminal acts is unconstitutional
Federal Constitutional Court - Judgement (2023). [1 BvR 1547/19, 1 BvR 2634/20]
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Published: February 2023