A new privacy class action claim (PDF) in the U.S. alleges Oracle’s “worldwide surveillance machine” has amassed detailed dossiers on some five billion people, “accusing the company and its adtech and advertising subsidiaries of violating the privacy of the majority of the people on Earth,” reports TechCrunch. From the report: The suit has 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 — who say they are “acting on behalf of worldwide Internet users who have been subject to Oracle’s privacy violations.” The litigants are represented by the San Francisco-headquartered law firm, Lieff Cabraser, which they note has run significant privacy cases against Big Tech. The key point here is there is no comprehensive federal privacy law in the U.S. — so the litigation is certainly facing a hostile environment to make a privacy case — hence the complaint references multiple federal, constitutional, tort and state laws, alleging violations of the Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Constitution of the State of California, the California Invasion of Privacy Act, as well as competition law, and the common law.
It remains to be seen whether this “patchwork” approach to a tricky legal environment will prevail — for an expert snap analysis of the complaint and some key challenges this whole thread is highly recommended. But the substance of the complaint hinges on allegations that Oracle collects vast amounts of data from unwitting Internet users, i.e. without their consent, and uses this surveillance intelligence to profile individuals, further enriching profiles via its data marketplace and threatening people’s privacy on a vast scale — including, per the allegations, by the use of proxies for sensitive data to circumvent privacy controls.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.