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What is Palantir and can it really predict crime?: Palantir, the secretive big-data firm co-founded by billionaire PayPal co-founder and Facebook investor Peter Thiel, announced plans to go public Monday. The Palo Alto-based firm, which is valued at roughly $20 billion, confidentially filed an S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and is now waiting on the SEC review process.