A Privacy Breach Like No Other

Bucharest/Romania - 07.18.2020: Oracle headquarter building in Bucharest. Logo of the Oracle company on a office building.

As smart as they are known to be, human beings are also pretty vulnerable to making mistakes. This fact has popped on the surface quite a few times throughout our history, with each appearance practically coaxing us to look for some semblance of a defensive cover. To the world’s credit, we’ll find just the right answer here once we bring dedicated regulatory bodies into the fold. Having a well-defined authority across each and every area was a game-changer, as it instantly gave us a cushion against a lot of our errors. However, the newfound utopia soon dissipated into thin air, and if we look back for a second, we can easily observe how it was all technology’s fault. You see, the moment technology got its layered nature to take over our lives; it gave certain people an unprecedented chance to fulfil their ulterior motives at the expense of others. This, like anyone can guess, went on to create such a volatile dynamic that it quickly overwhelmed our governing forces, thus sending us back to square one. Fortunately, though, the picture will go through another major overhaul, and once it does, it will free up the space for our regulatory industry to make a comeback and reclaim its authority. In fact, this shift has grown more and more evident over the recent past, and looking at one particular lawsuit, it should only grow stronger moving forward.

Amid the growing hullabaloo about user privacy or, more precisely, the lack of it, Oracle is facing a new class action lawsuit, which claims that the company has secretly constructed detailed dossiers on more than five billion people. According to certain reports, these dossiers include various details like the users’ names, home addresses, emails, purchases online, personal interests, income, political views, and a lowdown of their overall online activity. Filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, the lawsuit was put-together by three class representatives: Dr. Johnny Ryan, senior fellow of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL); Michael Katz-Lacabe, director of research at The Center for Human Rights and Privacy; and Dr. Jennifer Golbeck, a professor of computer science at the University of Maryland.

“Oracle has violated the privacy of billions of people across the globe. This is a Fortune 500 company on a dangerous mission to track where every person in the world goes, and what they do. We are taking this action to stop Oracle’s surveillance machine,” said Dr. Johnny Ryan.

By gaining the stated information without any consent whatsoever, Oracle is believed to have violated Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Constitution of the State of California, the California Invasion of Privacy Act, competition law, and the common law.

The allegations against Oracle come at an intriguing time, considering the cloud tech giant has been in the news, as of late, for several different reasons. One reason is, of course, is centered upon its murky partnership with TikTok and the implications it could bring for the wider privacy picture. So, given all the previous concerns, the new lawsuit can very well increase the scrutiny on Oracle like it has never seen before.


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