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Wall Streeters be warned: A CIA-backed startup could be listening to your calls



If you're a Wall Street trader, you'll want to be extra careful about what you say on calls and in emails going forward.

Especially if you work for Credit Suisse.

That firm has teamed up with the artificial intelligence firm Palantir to improve its trader surveillance, Bloomberg's Jeffrey Voegeli reports.

Palantir is no joke: It was cofounded by the Facebook backer and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel — and it was seed-funded by the CIA.

It's worked with other banks in the past, but this is the first time it's entered into a joint venture with one, according to the report.

Credit Suisse plans to use Palantir's technology to monitor the behavior of all its employees in the hopes of catching rule-breakers before they break the law.

It will do so by identifying individual trader activities that stand out from how they would normally act — and from how their colleagues would.

This is not the first time a Wall Street bank has used technological solutions to weed out rogue traders.

JPMorgan last year launched a program that uses algorithms to identifying bad eggs. It monitors things like whether traders attend compliance training or break any other trading rules, according to Bloomberg.

The new initiatives follow a handful of trader scandals in recent years that have cost banks billions of dollars in legal fees.

There was the JPMorgan trader behind the London Whale scandal, UBS' snafu with the rogue trader Kweku Adoboli, and the Deutsche Bank trader who cracked jokes about market manipulation amidst the currency scandal.

And remember the 2008 LIBOR interest rate and currency rigging scandal? That might have been avoided had trader chat conversations been more closely monitored.

Instead, one trader, who would later become Barclays' cohead for UK FX hedge fund sales, literally told another trader, "if you aint cheating, you aint trying"— and it went undetected.

Banks ended up paying a combined $5.8 billion in fines for that ordeal.

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