Activist Investors Pressure Palantir on Human Rights

November 25, 2019 | Investments, News, Venture Capital
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Ethical investors pressure tech company over business practices

Palantir Technologies, a tech analytics company, faces new pressure from a group of activist investors. The Investor Alliance for Human Rights has raised concerns about the firm’s contracts with government agencies like the U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE). It also accused the company of aiding the Trump administration.

The investor group says it represents 150 institutional investors with $4 trillion under management. The pressure represents a rare instance where activists target a private company.

“Through its multimillion-dollar U.S. government contracts, Palantir has played a mission-critical role in enabling ICE to carry out its activities,” the investor alliance told Reuters this week. “The company is failing to fulfill its human rights responsibilities.”

Palantir Technologies Disputes the Claim

Meanwhile, Palantir Technologies is a private company. However, it does have public backers like Allianz and BlackRock. The company says that Alliance’s charges are misguided.

“We always welcome an honest and open dialogue when it comes to complex societal issues, so it is disappointing to see a one-sided view,” Courtney Bowman, Palantir’s director of privacy and civil liberties engineering, told Reuters.

The activist group has also protested other prominent American companies over controversial platforms. In 2018, the firm also targeted Amazon.com over its facial recognition technology.

Recently, Amazon formally announced its “global human rights principles.” The firm says that it has a “responsibility to respect and uphold internationally recognized human rights through the ethical treatment of our workforce and those within our value chain.”

Related: Interactive Investor Releases Ethical Buy List

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