Tech firm with suspended contracts had outside data deal
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A surveillance technology company that had a $21 million contract with the state of Utah suspended over its founder’s past associations with white supremacists also had a contract with a healthcare company, to track coronavirus patient data.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports the contract appears to be the first known case of the Park City-based tech company Banjo selling data it collected through government agencies to an outside organization.
Company spokesman Linden Zakula said Banjo does not sell data or pass it from entity to entity. He said Banjo analyzes data for government and private companies but does not store the information.
The healthcare agreement reached last month was later suspended. It called for Intermountain Healthcare to pay $60,000 for equipment that carried a Banjo computer platform that had monitored a wide range of government surveillance data — from security cameras to 911 calls.
Intermountain spokesman Daron Cowley said the contracted work had not yet started.
The government surveillance data was made available to Banjo under contracts with Utah and local governments to develop detection programs for crimes and other emergencies using artificial intelligence. Those contracts were suspended following reports from the technology publication OneZero that Banjo founder Damien Patton was involved with a Ku Klux Klan faction as a teenager and a drive-by shooting at a Nashville, Tennessee synagogue 30 years ago.
Attorney General Sean Reyes said he would run an independent audit to address privacy concerns it has received over the program and possible bias.
Patton last week acknowledged his “despicable and hateful” past deeds and said he welcomes the audit.