back to article Lawsuit accuses Oracle of facilitating sales of 'billions' of folks' personal data

Oracle is the subject of a class-action suit alleging the software giant created a network containing personal information of hundreds of millions of people and sold the data to third parties. The case [PDF] is being brought by Johnny Ryan, formerly a policy officer at Brave, maker of the privacy-centric browser, and now part …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've no doubt Oracle would like to be doing "real time" social monitoring, location tracking and behaviour prediction, but I very much do doubt Oracle are capable of doing that. I'd be genuinely astonished if they're up to anything more nefarious or complicated than a join across Micros and whatever other bags of shit Larry's been buying in the consumer and ad tech spaces.

    But the idea of an exadata somewhere running a global-scale population graph and real-time personalisation does, if nothing else, raise a smile.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC - It doesn't really matter if they actually can do all that stuff

      The essential thing is they managed to convince the digital advertising industry that they can do it. I'd like to present the $42.4 billion in annual revenue as evidence and, at the same time, as reason why they will get away with it.

    2. pavel.petrman

      I second that...

      as I still remember Ocacle's reported Cloud performance not so many years ago and how well their reported numbers correlated with reality.

    3. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      It sounds like Oracle is accused of illegally trading personal data rather than illegally gathering it directly like Google does. It's a mix of crime and laziness that I could believe Oracle is doing.

    4. NeilPost


  2. JeffRx

    Sounds like a great company to keep our health data safe...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Openworld Presentation as evidence?

    Larry is famous/notorius for not sticking to script at these presentations. What he said to impress the audience, and what's actually happening, are not necessarily the same.

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

      Re: Openworld Presentation as evidence?

      Does he risk being attacked for trademark infringement by Elon Musk?

  4. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    I admit it!

    Yes, if I have stayed next to the clotted cream section in a refrigerated isle for a while, wrestling with my conscience, I am also likely to buy scones and strawberry jam.

    There, Mr Ellison, you no longer need to track my perambulations around Sainsbury's*.

    *Other purveyors of jam, scones and clotted cream are, I believe, available.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: I admit it!

      Only useful if they can promptly BOGOF scones and triple the price of jam.

    2. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: I admit it!

      The real dystopian future will come when they use AI to infer whether you’ll put the cream or the jam on the scones first, and then dispatch swarms of killer drones when you make the wrong decision!

      1. hoola Silver badge

        Re: I admit it!

        So many choices......

        We have the component parts:

        Scone, butter jam & clotted cream.

        Now do you have all 3 on top of the scone?

        Which order?

        Then there is the additional complications:

        Plain or fruity scone?

        Strawberry or some other jam?

        For me the default is fruity, butter, strawberry jam & clotted cream but I have been known to b radical and daringly switch to cherry jam if it is available!

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

          Re: I admit it!

          My personal solution to the issue of jam or clotted cream first, is that whichever is the most viscous goes on first. Of course in Devon or Cornwall, I always go with the local custom.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: I admit it!

          "Scone, butter jam & clotted cream."

          Butter? Noooooooooooooo. That's what the clotted cream is for.

    3. Tom 38

      Re: I admit it!

      You have a clotted cream section? Our choice is Rodda's or nowt.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I admit it!

      I often stop in random parts of the supermarket. I might be checking my phone, checking the shopping list, chatting with someone I know that I happen to have met there or any of a number of other reasons. I suspect this is the sort of data that is highly polluted,

    5. Outski

      Re: I admit it!

      What do you buy first, clotted cream or jam?

  5. Jan K.

    Ellison said at the time [1:15 onward]: "It is a combination of real-time looking at all of their social activity, real-time looking at where they are including, micro-locations..."

    Yes, yes, but what about health data? Not included?

    Ah, they're in the planning...

    Oracle is planning to build a national database of individuals' health records for the whole United States following its $28.3 billion acquisition of electronic health records specialist Cerner.


    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Jan K. "Yes, yes, but what about health data? Not included?"

      Article: " including, micro-locations..."

      I.e., which part of the hospital you are in and therefore deducing possibly what is is being examined, or which mini-aisle in the Boots pharmacy section you tend to visit a lot ...

      (Just a thought, but now I think about it, a rather worrying one.)

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I suppose there's a good defence: Larry admits to spouting BS.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Lawsuit chances

    Is Oracle doing it's best to realize Larry's vision of a surveillance Panopticon? Absolutely.

    But the lawsuit seems on shaky ground.

    "The complaint against Oracle alleges violations of the Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Constitution of the State of California, the California Invasion of Privacy Act, competition law, and the common law."

    This has the look of a "throw it at the wall and see what sticks" approach. If the have any success, it would probably be from the California Invasion of Privacy Act, assuming they can present more evidence than is referenced in the article. Even then, it would only apply to California.

    The lawsuit is correct but it strikes me as Quixotic.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lawsuit chances

      Is it a case of "get to discovery and we can actually see what's what"?

      With the claims being made by Larry surely one could have a reasonable worry. Get to discovery and you can force the company to hand things over or deny having stuff (setting up a potential fall if it later turns out they did have it).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not just what they can collect themselves, it's what other companies can give them too

    Remember that your moblie carrier and ISP probably both decided the could do deep traffic inspection, DNS manipulation, and in some cases a full MITM SSL hijack on your traffic. Who do you think they were selling that log data to?

    Make every one of these companies report what data they are holding, on who, and where they got it from, then make them link to central, third party run site with gov oversight and with a big red delete button on it. Please and thank you.

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: It's not just what they can collect themselves, it's what other companies can give them too

      "Make every one of these companies report what data they are holding, on who,"

      In the EU and UK that is the law. Organisations which collect personal information have to register the data collected and the reasons for collecting it with the Information Commissioners Office. They are not allowed to just collect personal data 'on the off chance they might find it interesting' and they are not allowed to use it for a purpose other than ones they have declared in advance.

      1. DoctorNine

        Re: It's not just what they can collect themselves, it's what other companies can give them too

        Many larger tech concerns simply ignore laws which cannot be adequately surveilled.

        It's as if the pertinent laws simply do not exist for them. C'est un monde heureux!

        If anyone notices, there is always a convenient employee to be blamed, and never the corporation's fault.

  9. ecofeco Silver badge

    Shocked I tell you!

    I'm shocked, shocked to find corporate lawbreaking going on here!

    /s just in case

  10. Auntie Dix
    Thumb Up

    WELL DONE! Sue, Baby, Sue!

    If only U.S. privacy law were extensive, well written, and enforced with eye-watering penalties!

    Brave, indeed, are the ones who challenge the status quo.

  11. StuntMisanthrope

    The one with the biggest database.

    Elvis has just checked in. #jupiterhospitalis

  12. Matthew "The Worst Writer on the Internet" Saroff

    Larry, "I Harassed You, Have a New BMW" Ellison Doing Something Unethical?

    I simply cannot believe that.

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