EPIC Demands Privacy Commitments From Oracle, TikTok
September 21, 2020
EPIC has sent demand letters to Oracle and TikTok warning both of their legal obligation to protect the privacy of TikTok users if the companies enter a partnership. Last week, following President Trump's threat to effectively ban TikTok from the United States, Oracle reached a tentative agreement to serve as TikTok's U.S. partner and to "independently process TikTok's U.S. data." But the deal, which would pair one of the largest brokers of personal data with a social network of 800 million users, presents grave privacy and legal risks. "Absent strict privacy safeguards, which to our knowledge Oracle has not established, [the] collection, processing, use, and dissemination of TikTok user data would constitute an unlawful trade practice," EPIC wrote. EPIC warned Oracle and TikTok that unless they "adequately protect the privacy of TikTok users"—for example, by committing not to sell TikTok user data or merge it with Oracle products—EPIC intends to bring a lawsuit against both companies under the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act. EPIC previously used the same law to force AccuWeather to stop deceptively gathering users' location data. EPIC and a coalition of consumer groups recently filed a Federal Trade Commission complaint against TikTok for violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.