French technological alternative for counterterrorism would take 2 years, according to Thales CEO

A French alternative to technology from US data analytics giant Palantir to help France prevent possible terrorist attacks would take around two years of development, the CEO of defense group Thales said on Friday.

The French intelligence services resorted to Palantir, specializing in the processing and analysis of large amounts of data, following the attacks of November 2015 in Paris and Saint-Denis which left 130 dead.

The contract, which was initially for three years, was renewed last year. According to the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI), this renewal was carried out for lack of a French alternative, even though President Emmanuel Macron pleaded for European digital sovereignty in the face of the domination of the United States and China.

A French version of the tool developed by Palantir is possible but would require the support of the French state, said Patrice Caine, CEO of Thales, during a lunch with the Anglo-American Press Association.

The economic stake is very weak, he said, specifying that the contract signed by the DGSI with Palantir was worth a few million euros.

Then there is the issue of sovereignty, autonomy, independence and that is a question for which only the State has the answer, he added.

According to Patrice Caine, the implementation of a French Palantir alternative could be quick.

It’s a question of years (…) We will say two years. “went quickly,” he said.
When contacted, Palantir declined to comment.

Last year, DGSI chief executive Nicolas Lerner told Reuters he preferred to use French technology, citing groups Thales, Dassault Systemes and Sopra Steria as possible suppliers.

No call for tenders has been launched and Thales has so far only received a ‘request for information’, as have other companies, Patrice Caine said on Friday.

Palantir was co-founded in 2004 by US billionaire Peter Thiel following the September 11, 2001 attacks. The company, which employs 2,500 people, was floated on the stock market last month and is valued at almost $ 16 billion. (Reuters)

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French technological alternative for counterterrorism would take 2 years, according to Thales CEO

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