Oracle tells tales about Google data slurps to Australian regulator

At an inquiry into news and ads, of all things. Is Big Red playing a deeper game?

Oracle has “provided information … about Google services” to Australian regulators.

News Limited organs in Australia on Monday reported that Oracle staffers travelled to Australia to present at the Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC’s) Digital platforms inquiry.

That inquiry will “look at the effect that digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content aggregation platforms have on competition in media and advertising services markets.” The probe will also “look at the impact of digital platforms on the supply of news and journalistic content and the implications of this for media content creators, advertisers and consumers.”

The ACCC told The Register “We are looking at the practices of digital platforms including Google and Facebook as part of our digital platforms inquiry.” Which we knew – Google and Facebook are prime reasons the inquiry was called into being.

But the regulator also said it “met with Oracle and is considering information it has provided about Google services” and is “exploring how much consumers know about the use of location data and are working closely with the Privacy Commissioner.”

None of which really sounds like Oracle’s concern. The company does sell data but has no advertising business to speak of.

So why has Big Red bothered?

Oracle recently won a long-running dispute with Google over the latter company’s use of Java in Android. And News Limited’s reports say Oracle demonstrated that Android devices send up to a gigabyte of month of data back to Google, the better to help it target ads.

Which sounds a little odd because uploading that volume of data would surely be noticed, especially on devices that don't have WiFi connections as mobile data is expensive down under.

The reports also said that Oracle showed its research to some media (Not The Register - Oracle recently took three weeks to reject our request for a briefing on Solaris 11.4). The company’s choice of News Limited was wise, because The House That Rupert Built has a long history of trying to take Google down a peg. Indeed, its submission (PDF) to the Digital Platforms Inquiry includes many criticisms of Google and Facebook on grounds that they need News’ content but seek to undermine it, lure away its advertisers and disrupt its relationships with readers.

An Oracle spokesperson told The Register “Unfortunately at this time we have ‘no comment’.”

The inquiry is required to deliver its final report by June 3rd, 2019. ®

Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022