This week's book giveaway is in the OO, Patterns, UML and Refactoring forum. We're giving away four copies of Refactoring for Software Design Smells: Managing Technical Debt and have Girish Suryanarayana, Ganesh Samarthyam & Tushar Sharma on-line! See this thread for details.
Above query would only work if your user has select access on the table else you need to check with your DBA.
By default, users have access to the USER_XXX and ALL_XXX data dictionary views. These views contains information about objects the user owns or has been granted access to, and they are vital for many functions (including Oracle's implementation of the JDBC mechanism for obtaining metadata information), so I doubt they would be unavailable in any Oracle database.