Oracle’s ‘surveillance machine’ targeted in US privacy class action – TechCrunch

Enterprise giant Oracle is facing a new privacy class action claim in the US.

The lawsuit, which was filed Friday as a 66-page Complaint In the Northern District of California, the tech giant’s “worldwide surveillance machine” has submitted detailed dossiers on nearly five billion people, accusing the company and its edtech and advertising subsidiaries of infringing on the privacy of most people on Earth.

There are three class representatives in the suit: Dr Johnny Ryan, senior fellow at the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL); Michael Katz-Lakabe, 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 – who says they are “acting on behalf of Internet users around the world who are subject to Oracle’s privacy violations”.

The plaintiffs are represented by a San Francisco-headquartered law firm, LIFE CABRACERWhich he notes has led to significant privacy cases against Big Tech.

The key point here is that there is no comprehensive federal privacy law in the US – so litigation is certainly facing a hostile environment to make a case for privacy – hence the complaint alleging violation of federal, constitutional, Refers to tort and state laws. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Constitution of the State of California, the California Privacy Invasion Act, as well as competition law and common law.

It remains to be seen whether this “patchwork” approach will prevail for a difficult legal environment – ​​expert SNAP analysis of complaints and some of the key challenges it faces full thread Highly recommended. But the essence of the complaint rests on the allegation that Oracle unwittingly collects vast amounts of data from Internet users, that is, without their consent, and uses this surveillance intelligence to profile individuals, through its data marketplace. Enriches the profile further and endangers the privacy of the people at large. – including the use of proxies for sensitive data to circumvent privacy controls, according to the allegations.

Commenting on the lawsuit in a statement, Ryan said: “Oracle has violated the privacy of billions of people worldwide. It’s a Fortune 500 company that keeps track of where every person in the world goes, and what they do. is on a dangerous mission to track down.We are taking this action to stop Oracle’s monitoring machine.

An Oracle spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit.

A few years ago the firm was facing a class action suit with Salesforce through a legal challenge to its tracking in Europe – which was intended to track web users, citing the region’s (conversely) comprehensive data. to focus on the validity of their consent. Security/Privacy Law.

However, the European legal challenges, which were filed in the Netherlands and the UK, have faced tough times – last year a Dutch court found the suit inadmissible, because (per report) decided that the nonprofit pursuing the class action has failed to demonstrate that it represents the alleged injured parties and therefore does not have a legal position. (Although earlier this year The organization behind the suit, Privacy Collective, said it would appeal.)

The UK arm of the legal action, meanwhile, was held pending the outcome of an earlier class-action style privacy suit against Google – but last year the UK Supreme Court sided with the tech giant, blocking that representative action and gave a blow. Possibility of other similar suits.

In the Lloyd v. Google case, the Court found that a claim for compensation would require the loss/damage suffered – and therefore the requirement to prove the loss/harm on an individual basis cannot be omitted – for a similar “loss”. control of personal data for each member of the claimed representative class to stand in its place”.

The decision was considered a hammer blow to the opt-out class action for privacy claims at the time – clearly throwing another spanner in the works of the Oracle-Salesforce class action’s ability to proceed in the UK.

The challenges to the lawsuit against privacy class actions in Europe explain the pressure by digital rights experts to test similar claims in the US.

Oracle’s ‘surveillance machine’ targeted in US privacy class action

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