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Ottawa’s AI ethics test didn’t consider Palantir’s controversial work with U.S. law enforcement

The data-mining firm Palantir Technologies has faced criticism from civil rights groups for its work with U.S. immigration authorities and police forces. But officials in Ottawa weren’t able to consider the company’s most controversial work when evaluating whether it should be allowed to bid on some Canadian government artificial intelligence projects, The Logic has learned.

Companies wanting to qualify as bidders had to outline their qualifications, provide examples of their past work and show how they “address ethical considerations when delivering AI.” But while Palantir submitted a 52-page response filled with case studies, resumes and business principles, it does not appear to have mentioned its contracts with U.S. law enforcement.

“There’s a huge elephant in the room here that they’re not acknowledging,” said Daniel Munro, a senior fellow at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy.

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