According to The Wall Street Journal, the massive data collecting Oracle Corporation has successfully outbid Microsoft and other huge tech companies for the “partnership” and responsibility for U.S. operations of TikTok. For a lot of people, this is good news as the super popular video sharing app that exploded in engagement during quarantine will most likely not be removed from US app marketplaces like the president had previously threatened.
For privacy experts and watchdogs, Oracle’s acquisition of TikTok is cause for concern. Oracle operates one of the largest data surveillance and targeted advertising businesses in the world, which earlier this year was already breached exposing billions of users private information.
Reason for Concern:
If you haven’t heard of the recent media buzz surrounding TikTok, then take a second to read our brief timeline of TikTok’s data privacy concerns and specifically their relations with the US. TikTok and more specifically ByteDance their parent company are no strangers to violating data privacy laws and consumer trust. They have been sued by the US government for violating COPPA twice, they were one of 58 apps banned in India, and the latest Apple iOS 14 updates revealed that TikTok was attempting to take consumers’ clipboard keystrokes and much more when the app was not even open.
Now that Oracle is taking over as the “trusted tech partner” there is concern that once the two are integrated, Oracle will have so much data that they will be able to build the most comprehensive profile of any consumer. As one Twitter user stated, Oracle will know you “better than your mother”. Holger Mueller, a data analyst at Constellation Research, told TechCrunch Oracle’s scoop of TikTok “will add plenty of load to their infrastructure service.That’s what matters to them with viral loads preferred. If Microsoft gets TikTok it could boost their usage by between 2% and 5%, while for Oracle it could be as much 10%,” he said.
Oracle’s Data Business
While Oracle is a widely recognized company, their data business called BlueKai is much more under the radar. BlueKai was one of the largest ad tech companies before being acquired by Oracle in 2014. Since then, they’ve continued to grow and currently fuel most of the targeting tactics across digital marketing. In fact, their own website claims to track over 90% of Internet users.
Its become widely known that TikTok has been conducting highly questionable data collection practices. While we cannot say with certainty how Oracle plans to use data collected from TikTok, this means TikTok’s data collection is now under the same organization that openly promotes their mass surveillance tactics. If you choose to continue using the social media app under its new US-owner, be steadfast in your caution.