06.10.2023 - Oracle: No concerns for people living in Switzerland

Oracle: No concerns for people living in Switzerland

06.10.2023 - The operations which are the focus of unlawful data processing allegations against Oracle America, Inc. in the USA do not affect the Swiss population. The FDPIC has terminated its investigations and decided not to bring formal proceedings.

The FDPIC informed the public on 27.09.2022 that it had taken note of the allegations made against Oracle America, Inc. in a US class action and was examining them for possible violations of the personality rights of persons living in Switzerland. According to documents filed in the action, Oracle America has been using tracking technologies to collect data on 5 billion internet users, recording the data in a database. It is claimed that the data collected is analysed and evaluated by Oracle America to create a data collection on all individuals covered. 

No impact on the Swiss population 

The FDPIC analysed the allegations made in the court case and contacted both Oracle Schweiz GmbH and Oracle America to ask questions. Specifically, it wanted to know how Oracle America has implemented paragraph 7 of the Oracle Advertising Privacy Policy to ensure that no information on individuals in Switzerland is used for advertising purposes. Oracle America gave the FDPIC credible assurances that it would not actively offer the controversial data processing services in Switzerland and that it had taken technical measures to prevent the use of information about individuals in Switzerland in connection with the advertising services. 

In addition, Oracle America has stated that it no longer offers its services as a data broker for companies providing data in Switzerland and had already terminated all contracts with data providers that supply data specifically on individuals in Switzerland years ago. Oracle America credibly described the technical measures it takes to prevent third-party data relating to individuals in Switzerland from being processed for advertising purposes and confirmed that Oracle’s advertising services do not involve the processing of any information relating to individuals in Switzerland, other than making the data subjects unidentifiable and then deleting the data to prevent its use for advertising purposes. 

The company further confirmed that it does not process any information on Swiss residents in connection with the Oracle ID Graph service, nor does it process any offline information about them. In addition, the FDPIC noted that Oracle America discontinued all ‘AddThis’ services as of 31 May 2023. For these reasons, the FDPIC was able to dispel its concerns that Oracle America's tracking technologies mentioned in the US class action could lead to violations of personality rights in Switzerland. As a consequence, the FDPIC has terminated its investigations without opening formal proceedings. 

Protective measures against unwanted tracking in the digital domain

Operators of websites and apps have a duty to check which technologies they use and whether these might infringe the privacy of users. Website and app operators must exercise caution, especially when embedding third-party plug-ins. The collection of personal data and its disclosure to third parties by means of third-party cookies and similar technologies must be transparent and often requires express consent, as otherwise it will generally lead to a violation of personality rights. 

Internet users can protect themselves against unwanted tracking on the internet by deliberately selecting a privacy-friendly internet browser and adjusting their settings accordingly. They can also use ad blockers or prevent their data from being collected by means of add-ins. 

Last modification 11.12.2023

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