Banjo’s Surveillance Systems Grind to a Halt After CEO’s KKK Past Revealed
Government agencies in Utah and Indiana have suspended their contracts with Banjo
In the wake of a OneZero investigation that revealed Banjo CEO Damien Patton’s association with the Ku Klux Klan and participation in the shooting of a synagogue in his youth, government agencies are suspending and reassessing their contracts with the surveillance company. That includes the Utah attorney general, the state of Utah, the University of Utah, and the city of Goshen, Indiana.
“The Utah attorney general’s office is shocked and dismayed at reports that Banjo’s founder had any affiliation with any hate group or groups in his youth. Neither the AG nor anyone in the AG’s office were aware of these affiliations or actions. They are indefensible,” said Richard Piatt, the director of communication at the Utah attorney general’s office, in an emailed statement to OneZero about the office’s decision to suspend its agreement with Banjo.
CEO of Surveillance Firm Banjo Once Helped KKK Leader Shoot Up a Synagogue
Documents reveal Damien Patton, CEO of SoftBank-backed Banjo, admitted to being a Neo-Nazi skinhead in his youth
Banjo was established in 2010 as a friend-finding social media platform. Since then, Banjo has evolved into an “event-detection” app that, according to company literature, compiles information from more than a billion public social media accounts. Banjo allows law enforcement to access location-based audio and video from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, with the goal of detecting and monitoring “events” such as mass shootings, traffic accidents, natural disasters, and protests. The company has raised nearly $223 million, according to the investment data-sharing platform SharesPost, from prominent venture capital firms such as SoftBank.
“Neither the AG nor anyone in the AG’s office were aware of these affiliations or actions. They are indefensible.”
Banjo has close ties to Utah. In recent years, the company relocated its headquarters to an office complex in South…