Pando

TikTok bid winner Oracle is at the heart of the modern surveillance state

The U.S. doesn't think it's fair that only China gets to spy on its citizens -- it wants in on it too. Enter Oracle.

By Aimee Pearcy , written on September 14, 2020

From The News Desk

When it comes to collecting data, Oracle (and probably the State Department) has decided that maybe it’s not ideal to outsource its technology needs to China for once. Instead, surveillance technology will be “Made in the USA” moving forward. Designed in Redwood City. Deployed from Redwood City.

After beating out Microsoft, Oracle is set to partner with ByteDance to become the “privacy shield” for TikTok. It has yet to be decided whether the TikTok-Oracle deal will go through, and it will require the approval of both the U.S. and Chinese governments.

Unsurprisingly, Trump has already said that he believes Oracle is in the best position to acquire TikTok. Last month, he said:

"I think Oracle is a great company, and I think its owner is a tremendous guy," Mr Trump said last month. "He's a tremendous person. I think that Oracle would be certainly somebody that could handle it."

But earlier today, China state media reported that ByteDance will not sell TikTok’s U.S. operations to either Microsoft or Oracle. 

Time and time again, the mainstream press manages to erase huge chunks of Oracle’s history.

You can’t write about the Oracle/TikTok deal without mentioning Oracle creator Larry Ellison and his links with the CIA (even though in 2014, Vox managed to shit out an entire article on the history of Oracle without mentioning the CIA once). 

Ellison, a prolific Trump supporter who approves of NSA surveillance, created Oracle back in 1977 under the name Software Development Laboratories (SDL) as a CIA project. In 1983 it was renamed Oracle Systems Corporation after a codename given to the project. 

Since then, Oracle has been a huge player in the national security industry. It has completed contracts for the CIA, Navy Intelligence, Air Force Intelligence and the National Security Agency. Essentially, it has helped to form the modern surveillance state, and there’s still a revolving door between Oracle and the CIA. 

Following the September 11 attacks in January 2002, Ellison wrote an article in The New York Times titled, ‘A National Security Database’.

In case the title isn't self-explanatory enough, here are a couple of excerpts:

“The single greatest step we Americans could take to make life tougher for terrorists would be to ensure that all the information in myriad government databases was copied into a single, comprehensive national security database.”

“A single, comprehensive national security database would make such watch list cross-checking far easier and quicker. Creating such a database is technically simple. All we have to do is copy information from the hundreds of separate law enforcement databases into a single database. A national security database could be built in a few months.

A national security database combined with biometrics, thumb prints, hand prints, iris scans or whatever is best can be used to detect people with false identities.”

A few years later in Jeffery Rosen's 2004 book, The Naked Crowd, Ellison said:

"The information about your banks, your checking balance, your savings balance, is stored in an Oracle database. Your airline reservation is stored in an Oracle database. What books you bought on Amazon is stored in an Oracle database. Your profile on Yahoo! is stored in an Oracle database… Privacy is already gone."

Basically, Oracle database keeps track of virtually everything. To see what data Oracle has about you, you can make a request.

In 2013, Oracle introduced its ‘Social Enabled Policing’ strategy to “represent the opportunity for policing and law enforcement agencies to embrace and leverage the growth of social networking and crowd-sourcing in the context of community policing”. In the document, Oracle literally describes how social media can be used as an opportunity for law enforcement. 

According to Oracle, its services can provide over 700 million messages a day from millions of social media platforms, “including chat rooms, forum pages, reviews and news media”

There's absolutely no reason to believe that TikTok data would be any safer in the hands of Oracle than it would in the hands of China. But I guess that if China gets to spy on the United States through TikTok, it’s only fair that the United States does too.