The war of the future is also conjugated in the present tense. Visitors equipped with a virtual reality helmet move in an area of conflict. Further, drones and reconnaissance robots fighting sits on a stand, ready to be sold to the military. In the middle of the demonstrations at international exhibition of defence and security in Villepinte (Seine-Saint-Denis), Eurosatory, a young man on a platform, takes the floor to present another form of struggle, based, she, on the information. From the outset, he committed the hostilities. “We are working with 30 governments in order to help to interpret and visualize the relevant elements hidden in large volumes of data, sometimes to their intelligence services,” explains Gautier Cloix, deputy director of the French subsidiary of the us company Palantir. This makes fifteen years that we exist. Some would like to see the emergence of an alternative national, but, in my opinion, it is a bad idea, a little as if he had to develop an iPhone or a PlayStation, made in France.”
The charge is for a representative of a start-up hex, Flaminem, invited to the discussion, but that is overshadowed at the last moment. Gautier Cloix, the representative of the california-based company, created in 2003 by Alex Karp, does not see how the Frenchies might have the means to compete with this juggernaut of the mass analysis of data, which is already valued $ 20 billion. After all, Palantir has built a good reputation in helping, it seems, to locate Osama bin Laden. A feat never confirmed. In contrast, several large groups such as Axa and Airbus, have, in themselves, are well made use of his skills. But this is another contract signed with the general Directorate of internal security (ISB), in the framework of the fight against terrorism, which has created a controversy in 2016. How a service of the French intelligence, he could equip a american technology, funded in its early stages, which is, by the investment fund of the CIA, In-Q-Tel ?
“We can no longer trust the U.s.”
“It was a click, could not be allowed to do this,” says Edouard Tétreau, essayist and advisor to business leaders. Would imagine you of strategic groups in the area of nuclear deterrence to entrust their accounts to audit firms u.s. and see their sensitive data from in Washington ?”
The forty-something woman attempts to support an initiative that hex through a young shoot, Flaminem. Founded in 2013 by Thomas Serval, a former Google, and Matthieu Delporte, co-founder of the start-up Baracoda, a specialist in connected objects, the company takes its name from the “flamines”, priests of ancient Rome, attached to the worship of the same god. Its technologies were initially intended for the field of finance in order to predict payment defaults or the shopping behavior of the customers in interpreting large masses of information. But they are trying, recently, to apply also to the world of security and intelligence.
A turn initiated by Guillaume Prunier, arrived last year. This former advisor Emmanuel Macron, responsible for innovation when he was in Bercy, joined the company in 2017 at the request of Thomas Serval, to take the branch. “He came to see me with Edouard Tétreau to introduce me to their project, and I immediately agreed to help,” recalled Alain Juillet, former intelligence director at the DGSE and president and founder of the Association for the fight against the illicit trade. New laws allow the authorities to recover all the data in the world stored by Microsoft or Google (“the Cloud Act”), and the president Trump can break any agreement with a country from one day to the next day. We can no longer trust the United States.”
Because they share his concerns, other personalities have joined the strategic committee of Flaminem : the former CEO of Société générale, Daniel bouton, the ex-officer of Pernod Ricard, Pierre Pringuet, or even the chief of staff of the armed forces under Nicolas Sarkozy, Edouard Guillaud. This areopagus has not yet been possible to raise more money to accelerate its development. The start-up, which is estimated not to compete with completely Palantir, thinks he can compensate his delay with additional resources. The u.s. is in a quasi-situation of monopoly with more than 500 million dollars already invested in its development and of the subsidiaries present a little everywhere on the planet. “But the technical and financial barriers have collapsed, writes Thomas Serval, president of Flaminem. The major groups of the Internet have put into circulation of the technological building blocks that we have been able to reuse them.”
“A sovereignty issue” european
Flaminem, funded by its parent, Baracoda, and several business angels, looking to sign contracts with the ministries of peerage. The general Directorate for armament (DGA) prefers, for the time being, to work with large groups of it, such as Atos or CapGemini, and it has just launched its own programme for the analysis of massive data, Artemis, selecting for the first phase of creating Thales and Sopra Steria. At its inception, Palantir had been able to benefit from significant State contracts to start. “It is a sovereignty issue within the eu, but the political will has not yet translated in the acts, regret Guillaume Prunier. We must master the technologies of the information, but also those of the financial regulation. Take a look at chow the Americans are already to impose their laws outside of their borders.”
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Several groups are hexagonal, as the banks BNP Paribas and Crédit agricole, but also Total and Technip, were forced to pay heavy fines to the american justice for having conducted operations on the planet that were contrary to american law. To entrust their sensitive data to companies such as Palantir, close to the interests of Washington, therefore, could prove to be very risky in the future. Still to the flamines of the digital era to convince the State of the relevance of their analyses.