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Oracle and Salesforce to be sued for breaching ‘cookie law’

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Oracle and Salesforce to be sued for breaching 'cookie law'

According to Forbes, class-action lawsuits filed in the UK and the Netherlands will accuse tech giants Oracle and Salesforce of breaching the GDPR in the way they process and share personal data to sell online advertising. The cases are being brought by The Privacy Collective (‘TPC’) – a non-profit foundation that is dedicated to claiming compensation for the wrongful use of personal data.

TPC claims that Oracle and Salesforce are misusing consumers’ personal data through their third-party cookies, which are hosted on a number of popular websites, such as Amazon, Booking.com, Dropbox, Reddit and Spotify. The cookies are used to track, monitor and collect the personal data of internet users and share it via a real-time bidding process. TPC claims that Oracle and Salesforce are holding personal information that consumers did not consent to sharing.

Oracle has described the lawsuit as “meritless action based on deliberate misrepresentations of the facts”. Salesforce said it “disagrees with the allegations and intends to demonstrate they are without merit”.

Insight

‘Cookie law’ says that you must tell people if you set cookies, and clearly explain what the cookies do and why. You must also get the user’s consent. Consent must be actively and clearly given.

There is an exception for cookies that are essential (‘strictly necessary’). The same rules also apply if you use any other type of technology to store or gain access to information on someone’s device.

‘Cookie law’ is complex and controversial. Many organisations operate websites or use cookies (and similar technologies) that do not comply with the rules.  It remains to be seen whether Oracle and/or Salesforce are found to be in breach of those rules. If they are, this case could have far-reaching implications, as the claim against them is, allegedly, for $10 billion.

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