Analysis: Rod Drury, Russel Norman go at it on Twitter over Palantir

There was a brief, frank exchange of views between Green Party leader Russel Norman and entrepreneur Rod Drury on Twitter this morning. To wit:

The conversation ended there. The Xero CEO quickly moved on to his next topic (why are taxis so much cheaper in Sydney than Auckland?).

Palantir was co-founded by Peter Thiel, most famous for making billions through his early Paypal and Facebook investments. Mr Thiel is an investor in Xero, and other NZ tech startups.

The Greens have alleged US-based data-mining company Palantir, which maintains an office in Wellington, is working with our government and has replicated the NSA's controversial Prism mass telecommunications surveillance technology (in the US, Palantir has its Prism software is the basis for the NSA's system of the same name - but by the same token, it's a fact the company received  financial backing from the CIA and has its genesis in intelligence gathering - see Are Palantir spooks?).

Prime Minister John Key says he won't comment on such "operational matters." 

"I can’t tell you how the United States gathers all of their information and what techniques they use. I simply don’t know that," Mr Key said on Tuesday:

He added, "If the question is, 'Do we use the United States or one of our other partners to circumvent New Zealand law?' then the answer is categorically no we don’t."

Messrs Dury and Norman reignited their war of words later in the morning, albeit with a more routine asset sales argument (below). Disappointingly, the pair then agreed to take their debate offline and meet for a coffee.

"My brain's not big enough to be sophisticated in 140 chars and want to see look of defeat in your eyes :)," quipped Drury.

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