By Noel Randewich
SAN FRANCISCO Jan 29 Oracle Corp CEO
Larry Ellison played down concerns on Wednesday about possible
government snooping in his business customers' private data.
At an industry conference in San Francisco, an audience
member asked the Oracle co-founder what to tell potential Oracle
cloud-computing clients who worry that the National Security
Agency could access their information.
"To the best of our knowledge, an Oracle database hasn't
been broken into for a couple of decades by anybody," Ellison
replied. "It's so secure, there are people that complain," he
Oracle, Salesforce.com and other major Silicon
Valley companies are increasingly offering Internet-based
business services for things like human resources, accounting
and sales management, in a trend known as cloud computing.
Entrusting software and data management to cloud services
can save companies the expense of maintaining their own servers
and other IT infrastructure.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's revelations about
U.S. government surveillance have increased companies' concerns
about privacy and may cost U.S. technology vendors billions of
dollars in lost sales, analysts say.
David Litchfield, an established security expert and
frequent speaker at top hacking conferences, disagreed with
Ellison's comments and said he regularly sees Oracle systems
"Of all of the commercial databases, Oracle is the least
secure," he told Reuters by email.
The roots of Ellison's software company go back to 1977,
when the Central Intelligence Agency contracted him and two
co-workers to design a database, codenamed Oracle. The same
year, Ellison and his colleagues founded the database company
that would eventually be renamed Oracle.
In an interview with CBS News' Charlie Rose in August,
Ellison said he believed the NSA's widespread surveillance was
essential to preventing terrorism.